Surface-Densified Wood : From Laboratory-Scale Research Towards a Competitive Product
Sammanfattning: For many decades, humans have been consuming more resources than the world has to offer in the long run. Increasing the use of renewable materials, such as wood, is essential if we are to achieve a sustainable use of the resources available to us. Densification of wood in general, and surface densification in particular, has the potential to improve the properties of widely available low-density wood species, opening up new fields of application, and fostering the use of wood products in general.The objective of this thesis is to put past research within the field of surface densification of solid wood and advancements within the present project into a context, and to suggest a path towards a performance-driven and cost-effective type of product. A prevalent research gap has been identified and this thesis summarizes how this gap can be filled by already conducted and future studies. Important aspects that need be handled in order to fulfill the overall vision of the large-scale commercialization of surface-densified wood products are considered.Past studies were successful in gaining a good understanding of different approaches to the densification of solid wood, such as using a hot press or a friction welding machine. Problems, such as the moisture-induced recovery of the densified wood cells could be solved from a technological perspective. However, those studies did not take into account industrial implementation. Existing methods are time- and/or energy-consuming. The use of roller-pressing equipment showed promising results, but also highlighted certain limitations. Solid wooden boards have been successfully surface-densified at speeds of up to 80 m/min. However, problems arose regarding the plasticization and stabilization of the densified wood cells, indicating that a continuous belt-press approach might be more viable with regard to the objective of industrial implementation.In parallel, a structured method to identify the most suitable wood species for surface densification has been presented, with the aim of propagating the use of surface-densified wood products and widening their fields of application. This method has confirmed the suitability of previously used wood species, and has also suggested alternatives not considered thus far.Previous studies into the surface densification of wood have provided a rather sound understanding of the densification process and have provided a useful foundation for the current project. The work done, thus far, has shown the viability of a continuous densification process and has indicated a sensible path towards the widespread establishment of surface-densified wood products on the market.
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