New colour-fast coating formula could hold key to wood weathering
A research project looking at the effect of adding titanium dioxide to transparent and semi-transparent coatings to prevent UV-weathering was one of the headline research papers presented at a conference in Bengaluru, India, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (ISWT).
Some 93 papers were presented over two days on topics relating to the science and technology of wood in the standing tree, as processed and at the microscopic level in the cell wall. In addition, papers were presented on the demand and utilisation of timber, timber product trade and the role that wood can play in helping alleviate climate change. Papers were presented by researchers from Asia, North America and New Zealand.
Dr Andy Pitman, BM TRADA’s Technical Business Development Manager, was invited by Dr Krishna Pandey, the Conference Organising Secretary, to chair the Wood Protection session and help judge the poster presentations. Dr Pandey is a wood technologist who has collaborated with Dr Pitman over many years to better understand the influence of wood weathering and decay on the changes in wood chemistry.
This conference provided an excellent opportunity to understand issues facing wood users globally and better understand some of the technologies being developed and evaluated at research institutes outside of the UK. Over 150 delegates from eight countries attended.
In terms of general themes arising, the papers dealt with novel and often non-destructive techniques for examining wood properties either in standing trees, as converted wood or within regions of the wood cell wall. This type of research enables better decisions to be made about harvesting for specific end-uses. It will prove useful in tree breeding programmes designed at improving wood quality and will allow the effects of wood-modifying chemistry to be assessed at the microscopic level.
Other papers examined ways of improving wood properties using chemical and thermal modification techniques or using products derived from plants. A suite of papers dealt with the impacts of manufactured wood products on the environment through Life Cycle Assessment.