A new method reveals the natural long-term resistance of timber

More international competitiveness for the timber industry and measuring instrument manufacturers

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a method that indicates the natural long-term resistance of wood. The method measures substances that volatilise from the wood, whose large amount provides the basis for the resistance of the timber to humidity and mould. The method is unique in the world. In the future, it can be used to sort timber according to its purpose of use, which will increase the value and competitiveness of wood products.

Volatile substances are analysed

The method developed by VTT is based on a chemical analysis of the substances volatilising from wood. This reveals significant characteristics promoting the wood’s long-term resistance to humidity and mould that do not show on the outside. Currently, sawn timber is classified according to its appearance (knottiness, among others) and mechanical strength.

Classification of timber according to purpose of use

The extractives content of spruce and pine logs, and the sawn timber processed from them, indicate the biological resistance of the sawn timber. In the near future, the method developed by VTT will allow the industry to classify sawn timber more precisely into raw material for indoor cladding panels, outdoor cladding boards, and fences and terrace furniture for demanding outdoor conditions, for example. The intention is to develop VTT’s method further to be directly suited to a production process.

The method provides benefits for the industry and consumers

VTT’s method is expected to bring new international production and competitiveness to the timber and measurement instrument industries. The method also facilitates more and more precise standardisation of the timber industry and, at the same time, the construction industry and consumers will more certainly receive high-quality products designed for a certain purpose of use.

The research was financed by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation – Wood Focus Oy, Tikkurila Paints Oy, Tikkurila Coatings Oy, Honkarakenne Oyj, Lappset Oy, VTT and the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla). The University of Kuopio was also involved in the project. A further study on the subject is being prepared.

 


Additional information

VTT is an impartial expert organisation. Its objective is to develop new technologies, create new innovations and value added thus increasing customer's competencies. With its know how VTT produces research, development, testing and information services to public sector and companies as well as international organisations.