Reducing Moisture Swell of Densified Wood With Polycarboxylic Acid Resin


  • Suzanne M. Peyer
  • Michael P. Wolcott
  • David J. Fenoglio


Dimensional stability, moisture, polycarboxylic acid, swelling, trimellitic anhydride, water, wood


A water-soluble polycarboxylic acid (PCA) resin was assessed for ability to limit moisture swelling of densified wood. Aspen flakes were treated in 0 (control), 1, 5, 10, and 20% PCA resin solutions and drained for 1, 10, and 20-min time periods. Following treatments, flakes were compressed to roughly 50% strain at 170°C. The PCA content of flakes significantly increased with increasing concentration and drain time. Water absorption and thickness swell of flakes decreased with increasing PCA content. Both water absorption and thickness swell of untreated flakes were over 100%; but for PCA-treated flakes, water absorption and thickness swell as low as 45% and 16%, respectively, were achieved. Irreversible thickness swell decreased with increasing PCA content, while reversible thickness swell remained relatively constant. The swelling coefficient decreased with increasing PCA content, a behavior that often is associated with bulking agents for treated, uncompressed wood. However, dynamic mechanical analysis further suggested that PCA resin acts as a cross-linking agent to stabilize the position of the collapsed cell walls.


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