Thermo-mechanical Densification of Populus tomentosa var. tomentosa with Low Moisture Content

Dengyun Tu, Xiaohua Su, Tingting Zhang, Wenjun Fan, Qiaofang Zhou


This study used thermo-mechanical densification technology to compress low-moisture content (3~5%) rapid-growth Populus tomentosa var. tomentosa trees to produce specimens with a low-compression ratio (small volume loss) and a uniform density profile and desirable properties. Furthermore, the densified specimens were subjected to post-heat treatment at 180, 190, and 200 °C for 2, 3, and 4 h, respectively. Microscopic examination was performed to observe the changes that occurred in the wood vessels after densification. To determine the influence of post-heat treatment on the set recovery, the specimens were subjected to eight cycles of soaking and drying in 20 °C water and two cycles in boiling water. The density profile tendencies of the densified specimens were in accord with undensified specimens. Microscopic observation revealed that the deformations present in the densified wood resulted from the viscous buckling of cell walls without fracture. The volume of the void areas in the specimens decreased uniformly. Post-heat treatment can decrease compressive deformation, especially when applied at 200 °C for 4 h. After two boiling water cycles of soaking and drying, the densified wood still had a certain set recovery. Therefore, densified wood should be used sparingly in high temperature and high humidity environments.


Post-heat treatment; Morphology; Density Profile; Set recovery

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