MEMBER Wood Products;

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MEMBER Forest Operations; Pulp, Paper and Bioproducts;

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Most Canadian wood species are difficult to penetrate with preservative chemicals, which limit performance and market acceptance. It was hypothesized that an electric field could enhance penetration of preservatives in wood. A literature review and pilot study were done to examine the feasibility of this technique. Studies have shown that copper, arsenic and boron will migrate through wood when a direct current is applied. Migration of elements is influenced by the pH of wood, the state of the element and the presence of other elements. Elements need to be in an ionic state, and not bound as complexes. The time required for substantial migration of elements through wood ranges from days to weeks. Further studies should focus on copper and boron which are both important components of wood preservatives. Treatment through the tangential or radial face may be more desirable in application, but are the most difficult faces to treat. We set up a small pilot experiment with 10cm 2x4 samples of green subalpine fir compressed between two flanges filled with Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ). Wire mesh with electrodes attached was fitted inside each flange. Electrodes were connected to an electrophoresis power unit. Trial runs were performed with green, water soaked and water impregnated samples. Between 6-20 mA were applied for up to 24 hours. The water impregnated samples showed a maximum of between 3-4 mm penetration. Further testing should be done using Copper(II) Sulphate which will dissociate readily to provide ionic copper.


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