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Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 48, Issue 24, pp 8571–8579 | Cite as

Anatomical properties and process parameters affecting blister/blow formation in densified European aspen and downy birch sapwood boards by thermo-hygro-mechanical compression

  • Sheikh Ali AhmedEmail author
  • Tom Morén
  • Olle Hagman
  • Alain Cloutier
  • Chang-Hua Fang
  • Diego Elustondo
Article

Abstract

Approximately, 13.5 % of the standing volume of productive forest land in Sweden is covered by birch and aspen, which provides the vast potential to produce value-added products such as densified wood. This study shows whether it is possible to densify those species with a thermo-hygro-mechanical (THM) process using heat, steam, and pressure. In this process, transverse compression on thin European aspen (Populus tremula) and downy birch (Betula pubescens) boards was performed at 200 °C with a maximum steam pressure of 550 kPa. To obtain a theoretical 50 % compression set, the press’s maximum hydraulic pressure ranged from 1.5 to 7.3 MPa. Preliminary tests showed that ~75 % of the birch boards produced defects (blisters/blows) while only 25 % of the aspen boards did. Mainly, radial delamination associated with internal checks in intrawall and transwall fractures caused small cracks (termed blisters) while blows are characterized by relatively larger areas of delamination visible as a bumpy surface on the panel. Anatomical investigations revealed that birch was more prone to those defects than aspen. However, those defects could be minimized by increasing the pre-treatment time during the THM processing.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

Fiber Length Densified Wood Anatomical Property Transverse Compression Vessel Frequency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund, the County Administration of Västerbotten, the Municipality of Skellefteå, and TräCentrum Norr for their financial support. Special thanks are also extended to Birger Marklund, Technician, Luleå University of Technology, Campus Skellefteå for helping with sample preparation and the Centre de Recherche sur le Bois (CRB), Département des Sciences du Bois et de la Forêt, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada for THM processing.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheikh Ali Ahmed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tom Morén
    • 1
  • Olle Hagman
    • 2
  • Alain Cloutier
    • 3
  • Chang-Hua Fang
    • 3
  • Diego Elustondo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Division of Wood Science and Engineering, Wood PhysicsLuleå University of TechnologySkellefteaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Division of Wood Science and Engineering, Wood Products EngineeringLuleå University of TechnologySkellefteaSweden
  3. 3.Wood Research Center (CRB), Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, Geography and GeomaticsLaval UniversityQuebecCanada

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