Investigations on Wood Stability and Related Properties of Radiata Pine
Thesis DisciplineChemical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Previous studies on wood instability have identified some wood basic properties which influence the timber distortion and shape changes while the wood is losing or gaining moisture. These properties include wood anisotropic shrinkage, equilibrium moisture content (EMC) in both desorption and adsorption, fibre saturation point (FSP) and water diffusion coefficient. This study investigated the stability related wood properties and their variations within the stems of the New Zealand grown radiata pine trees. The basic density, EMC and shrinkage for the earlywood and the latewood were also experimentally determined. In taking into account these properties and their variations, an analytical model was developed to simulate the wood distortion. The equilibrium moisture content was determined at 30Â°C and humidity range from 27% to 90%. It was found that the EMC difference between the earlywood and the latewood was negligible. The experimental results also show that the EMC decreases from pith towards the bark over the disc cross section and the trend is most obvious at high humidities (70-90%). Along the tree height, the EMC decreases from ground towards the top of the stem. The tangential shrinkage results were highly variable but, in general, the latewood has higher values than the earlywood. The opposite trend was found for the longitudinal shrinkage, higher values for the earlywood than the latewood. In the tree height direction, the tangential shrinkage was found to decrease with the tree height. This follows the same trend as the microfibril angle which in general also decreases with the tree height. The fibre saturation point (FSP) was determined from the tangential shrinkage values at different equilibrium moisture contents. These were taken as the intersection point of the tangential shrinkage line with the moisture content axis. The experimental results have revealed a trend that the FSP decreases from the pith towards the bark and also decreases with the tree height. Similar behaviour was found for the tangential and longitudinal swelling during the adsorption. The moisture transport within radiata pine was investigated based on the diffusion theory under transient and isothermal condition of 30Â°C. The moisture dependant diffusion coefficient was derived from the experimental data using the inverse analysis method. The surface emission coefficient was determined by taking into account the variable surface moisture content, wood density and the ambient conditions. In the experiments, 138 samples in total (46 samples for each XIV of the longitudinal, tangential and radial directions) were used and their diffusion coefficients were determined for both the adsorption and the desorption with moisture content ranging from 6% to 22%. The derived diffusion coefficients are comparable with the reported data in the literature. Further investigation of the wood type influence on the diffusion coefficient revealed that compression wood has the lowest diffusion coefficients in the three directions (longitudinal, tangential and radial) both in the desorption and in the adsorption. In addition, the moisture content has the least influence on the diffusion coefficient in the compression wood. Investigation on the effects of the wood density has shown that in general, the diffusion coefficient decreases with increasing wood density although the correlations are only significant for the longitudinal direction in desorption. An analytical model for the simulation of the wood twist was developed which is based on the geometry and geometrical changes of the grains aligning non parallel to the pith. A board consists of numerous such grains which change the length and shape with moisture content change. The model predictions confirm that the grain angle, the tangential and longitudinal shrinkage and the conical angle all affect the development of the board twist. However, the discrepancies between the model prediction and the experimental data are significant, partly due to the experimental uncertainties and partly due to the model errors. In this study, sound velocity in the longitudinal direction was measured for the test samples used in the shrinkage experiments. The results revealed that the correlations between the sound velocity and the volumetric shrinkage at oven dry are significant. Based on this finding, the relationship between the tangential shrinkage and the radial shrinkage, the tangential shrinkage can be predicted from the sound velocity measurements. As the tangential shrinkage has significant influence on the wood distortion, this method can be used to segregate logs which may be prone to wood distortion.