Copper Leaching from Copper-ethanolamine Treated Wood: Comparison of Field Test Studies and Laboratory Standard Procedures

Nejc Thaler, Miha Humar


Copper-based compounds are some of the most important biocides for the protection of wood in heavy duty applications. In the past, copper was combined with chromium compounds to reduce copper leaching, but a recent generation of copper-based preservatives uses ethanolamine as a fixative. To elucidate the leaching of copper biocides from wood, Norway spruce (Picea abies) wood was treated with a commercial copper-ethanolamine solution with two different copper concentrations (cCu = 0.125% and 0.25%). The aim of this research was to compare the laboratory leaching standards (ENV 1250-2, CEN/TS 15119-1, and CEN/TS 15119-2) with the field leaching studies in ground and above ground. The results indicated that the first leaching peak appears in the initial phases of leaching, both in laboratory and field studies. The degree of copper leaching is also affected by the method of treatment; copper-ethanolamine preservative solutions, when applied with superficial treatments, are more prone to leaching than is vacuum-pressure treated wood. On average, between 25% and 36% of copper was leached from the impregnated wood after 42 months of exposure.


Copper; Emissions; In-ground application; Above ground application; Laboratory; Norway spruce; Leaching

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