Relaxation mechanism of residual stress inside logs by heat treatment: choosing the heating time and temperature
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Some methods to reduce residual stress inside logs have been reported, although the conditions for stress relaxation are not yet clarified. Our study using precise experiments revealed that residual stress relaxation occurs only when both heat and moisture exist inside the logs. We then determined the heating time and temperature required to relax the residual stress inside the logs. Short air-drying treatments did not relax residual stress even though free water in the logs was greatly reduced. The residual stress of the 33-h 80°C-heated bolts was relaxed, whereas that of the 48-h 70°C-heated bolts was not. As for the influence of treatment time, bolts heated at 100°C were relaxed after 18 h of treatment. The 13-h heated bolts did not show any relaxation. Therefore, residual stress relaxation occurred rapidly owing to the thermomechanical change of the individual wood components comprising the cell wall. The moisture content inside all the bolts was much higher than the fiber saturation point. This is because relaxation occurs only when the heating temperature is maintained above 80°C for a particular duration of treatment.