Effects of Heat and Steam on the Mechanical Properties and Dimensional Stability of Thermo-hygromechanically-densified Sugar Maple Wood

Qilan Fu, Alain Cloutier, Aziz Laghdir


Effects of heat and steam were investigated relative to the mechanical properties and dimensional stability of thermo-hygromechanically-densified sugar maple wood (Acer saccharum Marsh.). The densification process was performed at four temperatures (180 °C, 190 °C, 200 °C, and 210 °C) with and without steam. The hardness, bending strength, bending stiffness, and compression set recovery of the control and densified samples were determined. The effects of heat and steam on the density profile of the samples across thickness were also investigated. The results suggested that the effects of steam on the mechanical properties and dimensional stability of sugar maple wood were more important than that of heat’s influence. Compared to the samples densified without steam, the samples densified with steam showed higher values for hardness, bending strength, bending stiffness, compression set, and density, but much lower compression set recovery when treatment temperature was below 200 °C. High temperature combined with steam contributed to decreased compression set recovery. The lowest compression set recovery was obtained after the first swelling/drying cycle for all of the treatments. A higher weight loss occurred at 210 °C, which resulted in a noticeable decrease of wood density.


Thermo-hygromechanical densification; Dimensional stability; Bending strength; Bending stiffness; Compression set recovery; Hardness; Density profile

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