Changes in the chemical structure and decay resistance of heat-treated narrow-leaved ash wood
Keywords:chemical structure, decay resistance, fraxinus angustifolia, thermal modification
We analyzed the effects of heat treatment on the chemical structure of wood from narrow-leafed Ash (Fraxinus angustifolia), a fast-growing and economically valuable species. We also analyzed the effects of heat treatment on the wood’s resistance to four decay fungi. Narrow-leafed Ash wood samples were heated with saturated steam to 140, 180, 200, and 220°C for 2, 4, and 6 h. The relative contents of extractable components were analyzed, as well as the levels of holocellulose, cellulose, and lignin. In addition, the density, equilibrium moisture content, and pH of the samples were measured. To determine the effects of heat treatment on resistance to decay fungi, the samples were exposed to the white rot fungus Trametes versicolor, dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans, and the brown rot fungi Coniophora puteana and Gloeophyllum trabeum. Changes in the chemical composition of the wood due to heat treatment were correlated with increased resistance to fungal decay. While the hemicellulose content was dramatically reduced with increasing temperature and treatment duration, the lignin content increased proportionately. Thus, heat treatment is an environmentally friendly method of preserving narrow-leafed Ash wood against various decay fungi.