Effect of Ethylene Oxide Sterilization and Accelerated Ageing on the Physical and Mechanical Properties of Beech, Oak, and Elm Wood: Part 1

Daniela Tesařová, Alena Capíková, Eva Jeřábková, Petr Čech, Adam Ekielski, Pawan Kumar Mishra


Effects of ethylene oxide (EO) treatment on library and museum furniture were investigated. Three treatments (accelerated ageing, EO treatment, and EO treatment followed by accelerated ageing) were applied to understand the effects on physical and mechanical properties of the common furniture woods. The Buchholz indentation test/micro-hardness (MH), color and gloss, Brinell hardness/macro-hardness (BH), and surface roughness were tested. The MH of oak and beech samples was not noticeably affected by any of the treatments, whereas elm samples showed some effects. For all types of wood, color was affected by EO treatments, but not considerably affected by ageing. Gloss significantly decreased with EO and accelerated ageing treatments for all samples. In BH measurements, ageing caused a decrease in hardness for both the control and EO treated samples, although this affect was not marked in beech samples. The EO treatment caused a decrease in hardness for beech and elm samples, but no major effect was observed in oak samples. There was a significant effect on the Ra values (arithmetic average of the absolute values of the roughness profile ordinates) in the aged groups of beech and oak samples, as well as oak samples that received both EO treatment and ageing.


Ethylene oxide; Wood sterilization; Surface characterization; Oak wood; Elm wood; Beech wood

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