The combined effect of wetting ability and durability on outdoor performance of wood: development and verification of a new prediction approach

Abstract

Comprehensive approaches to predict performance of wood products are requested by international standards, and the first attempts have been made in the frame of European research projects. However, there is still an imminent need for a methodology to implement the durability and moisture performance of wood in an engineering design method and performance classification system. The aim of this study was therefore to establish an approach to predict service life of wood above ground taking into account the combined effect of wetting ability and durability data. A comprehensive data set was obtained from laboratory durability tests and still ongoing field trials in Norway, Germany and Sweden. In addition, four different wetting ability tests were performed with the same material. Based on a dose–response concept, decay rates for specimens exposed above ground were predicted implementing various indicating factors. A model was developed and optimised taking into account the resistance of wood against soft, white and brown rot as well as relevant types of water uptake and release. Decay rates from above-ground field tests at different test sites in Norway were predicted with the model. In a second step, the model was validated using data from laboratory and field tests performed in Germany and Sweden. The model was found to be fairly reliable, and it has the advantage to get implemented into existing engineering design guidelines. The approach at hand might furthermore be used for implementing wetting ability data into performance classification as requested by European standardisation bodies.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge Fred Evans, Sigrun Kolstad, Thomas Bornemann, Sebastian Völling, Annica Pilgård and Martin Kasselmann for their contributions to this study. Scientific exchange and parts of the experimental work have been carried out in the frame of the research programme ‘WoodBuild’, the WoodWisdomNet project ‘Durable Timber Bridges’ and COST Action FP 1303.

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Correspondence to Linda Meyer-Veltrup.

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Meyer-Veltrup, L., Brischke, C., Alfredsen, G. et al. The combined effect of wetting ability and durability on outdoor performance of wood: development and verification of a new prediction approach. Wood Sci Technol 51, 615–637 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00226-017-0893-x

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Keywords

  • Decay Rate
  • Wood Species
  • Critical Dose
  • Capillary Water Uptake
  • Water Vapour Uptake