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Heat-Treated Wood Provides Alternative to Hardwood

11 May 2001 - Heat-treated wood is a new, ecological wood product, which main advantage is the ecological method of manufacture.

When wood is exposed to high temperatures (200°C or more), its properties change significantly. Sugars inside the wood break up into a form, which rot fungi cannot use. What is more, natural protective compounds in the wood are effectively distributed to protect the wood. Heat treatment usually takes about 24 hours. Any type of wood can be heat-treated, but the commonest species are pine, spruce, birch and aspen.

Heat-treated wood ‘lives’ less than untreated wood, meaning that shrinking and swelling is considerably lower. “This improves the usability of many wood products, such as doors and windows. Moreover, gaps do not appear on wooden floors in places where conditions change with the seasons,” says Director Tero Lallukka of Stellac Oy.

Heat treatment gives wood a beautiful brown colour, like that of hardwood. “Heat-treated wood is also an ecological alternative to tropical woods because of the beautiful and pleasant colour it gives. Thanks to its fine and exotic appearance, heat-treated wood can also be used in place of wood obtained from tropical forests,” says Lallukka.

Ecologically viable solution

Heat-treated wood is generally used indoors on parquet and wooden floors, wall and ceiling panels, in saunas and fixed installations for example in the kitchen. Heat-treated wood can also be used to make furniture and other utensils, decorations and gifts.

Lallukka says that environmental aspects are becoming increasingly important when selecting raw materials. “Alongside technical and economic aspects, environmental aspects have become more and more important when evaluating products. Manufactured ecologically, heat-treated wood can meet the demands of both consumers and the authorities.”

Heat-treated wood is rot-resistant enough for many outdoor uses, and this has been achieved without using chemicals that harm the environment or people’s health.

In temperatures in excess of 100°C, wood dries more quickly and also tolerates the drying better. The saving in time and energy is considerable according to Lallukka, because the drying time needed is easily cut down to one third, sometimes even to one fifth compared with traditional methods.

For more information, contact:
Tero Lallukka, Director
Tel. +358 400 491 754

More news on Finnish Technology at www.tekes.fi

Reference URL :

Dr Erja Ämmälahti
Tekes, the National Technology Agency of Finland
358 10 5215 712

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