Moisture content profiles and surface phenomena during drying of wood

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Byggvetenskap

Sammanfattning: Timber drying is one of the most important processes whenmanufacturing sawn timber products. The drying processinfluences deformations, surface checking, discoloration andhence, the product quality and the manufacturing costs.Research in this field is of great importance for the woodindustry since the industrial drying process always needs to beimproved as market demands increases and new wood products aredeveloped.The aim of the present thesis was to investigate themoisture transport behaviour in wood based on measurementsduring drying from fresh condition down to end use moisturecontent. The behaviour near the surface interface has beenspecifically investigated since it is of great importance forthe theoretical description of the drying process. Furthermore,studies based on measurements in the wood surface layer duringdrying are not easy to find in the literature. The reason forthat is probably that it is very difficult to make accuratemoisture measurements with high spatial or temporal resolutionwithout disturbing the drying process.Measurements of moisture content profiles in Scots pineheartwood and sapwood during drying have been performed byusing three different methods. The first was a destructivemethod where the wood samples are sliced with a knife intoseveral smaller pieces. The moisture content in each piece wasdetermined with the dry weight method. The second method usedis non-destructive and it utilises a medical CT-scanner thathas been adapted for drying experiments. The samples are driedin-situ the scanner through the whole experiment. TheCT-scanner measures density and the moisture content arecalculated according to existing methods developed by otherscientists. The third method was also non-destructive and itutilises a Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, technique. Withthis technique the amount of water in the wood sample ismeasured directly even though it has to be calibrated tomoisture content.The surface emission factor, S, or surface resistance, 1/S,has been studied by performing sorption experiments with MDF ina narrow moisture content range. The experiment was evaluatedusing a simple diffusion model that includes a surface emissionfactor S. The experimental result was compared with resultscalculated using well established boundary layer theories.Measurements of moisture content profiles in the wood bulkshowed an expected Fickian behaviour at moisture contents belowthe fibre saturation point. Above the fibre saturation pointalmost flat moisture profiles were observed. This behaviour wasnot expected and it is not possible to simulate this behaviourwith the existing drying models since they usually assume thatthere is a gradient in the moisture profile over the wholemoisture content range. From the moisture profiles thediffusion coefficients were determined over a moisture contentranging from 8 to 30%. The values for heartwood and sapwood areapproximately equal in radial and tangential direction tograin. Furthermore, the diffusion values in longitudinaldirection are much higher as expected.The sorption experiments with MDF gave a greater surfaceresistance compared with the calculation that was based onboundary layer theory. The ratio was three or higher. Thisimplied that there was a greater resistance in the surfacelayer. In addition, this was not well described in theliterature even though a few recent published studiesexist.High resolution measurements in the surface layer of woodshowed behaviour similar to that observed in the bulk wood. Theresults showed the very early development of a dry zone closeto the surface interface. In that zone or shell the moisturecontent was below the FSP even though the bulk moisture contentwas far above the FSP. At the end of the experiments themoisture content in the surface layer (0?300 µm)nearly reached the equilibrium moisture content even though thebulk moisture content still was much higher.Keywords:Computer tomography, Diffusion, Magneticresonance, Moisture measurements, Moisture profiles, Surfaceemission, Wood drying