Moisture dynamics of wood-based panels and wood fibre insulation materials

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Moisture performance is an important factor determining the resistance of wood-based building materials against fungal decay. Understanding how material porosity and chemistry affect moisture performance is necessary for their efficient use, as well as for product optimisation. In this study, three complementary techniques (X-ray computed tomography, infrared and low-field NMR spectroscopy) are applied to elucidate the influence of additives, manufacturing process and material structure on the liquid water absorption and desorption behaviour of a selection of wood-based panels, thermally modified wood and wood fibre insulation materials. Hydrophobic properties achieved by thermal treatment or hydrophobic additives such as paraffin and bitumen, had a major influence on water absorption and desorption rates. When hydrophobic additives did not play a role, pore distributions and manufacturing process had a decisive influence on the amount and rate of absorption and desorption. In that case, a higher porosity resulted in a higher water absorption rate. Our results show that there is a clear potential for tailoring materials towards specific moisture performance by better understanding the influence of different material characteristics. This is useful both for achieving desired moisture buffering as well as to increase service life of wood-based materials. From a sustainability perspective, fit-for-purpose moisture performance is often easier to achieve and preferred than wood protection by biocide preservative treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number951175
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2022

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