Impact of Wood Moisture Content on Structural Integrity of Wood Under Dynamic Loads
Research subject and fields:
The majority of mechanical wood properties are negatively affected by wood moisture within the hygroscopic range, disregarding the stress relaxation of wood at very low moisture contents (MC). In contrast, the structural integrity and thus the brittleness of wood appears to be positively affected by moisture. This study aimed at examining the effect of wood MC on the structural integrity of wood between the oven-dry state and MC well above cell wall saturation (CWS), i.e., at approx. 100 %. For both softwood (Picea abies) and hardwoods (Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur), the structural integrity was assessed on the basis of the Resistance to Impact Milling (RIM) originating from High-Energy Multiple Impact (HEMI) tests. RIM increased with increasing MC in the hygroscopic range, which might be explained by stress relaxation and ‘gluing effects’ inside the cell wall polymer structure, resulting from a growing network of hydrogen bonds on cell wall level. Increasing MC above CWS caused a slight decrease of RIM in the selected hardwood species, whereas no significant change in RIM was observed when MC varied in the range from CWS to approx. 100 % for the softwood species Norway spruce.