Physicochemically Modifying Wood by Low Energy Hydrogen Ion Shower: An Alternative Plasma-Based Antitermite Method
Keywords:Plasma, termites, FTIR, SEM, wetting model
AbstractBlantocas et al (2007) reported that low-energy hydrogen ion shower (LEHIS) irradiation of wood produced inhibited flammability and surface inactivation of wood. In this study, pest control performance of LEHIS compared with conventional pesticide (pyrethroid toxin) was assessed. Subsequent statistical analyses indicated that LEHIS was equally as effective as pyrethroid toxin in arresting microcerotermes losbañosensis subterranean termite infestations. LEHIS functions not as a toxicant, but rather as a treatment that made wood unpalatable to infesters. LEHIS treatment smoothened wood exterior and decreased surface pore sizes restricting moisture penetration. The change rate constant k in the wetting model equation (dθ/dt = -kθ) fell two orders of magnitude from 0.25/s (initial θ = 25°) for the control to 0.001 9/s (initial θ = 60°) for the treated sample. Hydrophobization was attributed to molecular reorientation resulting in loss of bonding sites for polar molecules. Fourier transform IR spectra showed that LEHIS treatment decreased absorption intensities of hydroxyls (O-H at 3360 cm-1) and carbonyls (C=O at 1730 and 1647 cm-1) suggesting the breakdown of hydrophilic components, in particular that of hemicellulose. With less moisture absorptive capacity, wood became less palatable to termites, thus inhibiting further decimations.
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