Official website of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association


Thermal Modification of Specialty Species: Results of Scion’s Core Funded Experiments

By Rosie Sargent and Elizabeth Dunningham, August 2018.

Download SWP-T063 (pdf)

Executive summary

The objective of this work is to improve the properties of two specialty wood species (Eucalyptus nitens and Cupressus lusitanica) through thermal modification.

Key results

The major findings of this study were:

  1. Improved durability of C. lusitanica sapwood, maintained durability of heartwood, Improved dimensional stability of E. nitens modified in air at 160°C
  2. Very low levels of degrade in pressure steam modified E. nitens

Implications of results for the client

The improved durability of modified lusitanica sapwood would allow sapwood-containing boards to be used in outdoor applications where boards must currently only contain heartwood. This would increase grade recoveries, as boards containing sapwood or intermediate wood could be used for higher value products.

The increased dimensional stability of nitens modified at 160°C in a standard high temperature kiln gives potential for the production of more stable interior products without requiring a specialist thermal modification kiln.

Pressure steam modification presents an opportunity to modify nitens without causing degrade. This will be especially useful if the wood can be modified to a high enough degree to improve durability.

Further work

Fungus cellar testing is ongoing for both nitens and lusitanica samples.
Further property testing (long and short term dimensional stability, mechanical properties) are ongoing for lusitanica.

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