Physico-Mechanical Properties of Thermally Modified Eucalyptus Nitens Wood for Decking Applications
Research subject and fields:
Eucalyptus nitens is a fast growing plantation species that has a good acclimation in Spain and Chile. At the moment it is mainly used for pulp and paper production, but there is a growing market for solid wood products made from this species. Thermal modification offers a good alternative to produce high quality material to manufacture products with high added value. This study used unmodified and thermally modified E. nitens wood from Spanish and Chilean plantations to elaborate external decking and examine if it complies with the necessary properties to be a competitive product. A process similar to ThermoWood® was applied at the following temperatures: 185 °C, 200 °C and 215 °C. For each modification and for an unmodified specimen mass loss, volumetric swelling, anti-swelling efficiency (ASE) and equilibrium moisture content (EMC) were determined. Brinell hardness, dynamic hardness, screw and nail withdrawal resistance, and abrasion resistance according to the Shaker method and the Taber Abraser method were also determined. According to this study, thermally modified E. nitens from both countries showed high potential to be used as decking material, particularly when modified at 200 °C.