Modelling the effects of a radiation induced polymer impregnation on the moisture of wood-polymer composites

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-742
Journal / PublicationRadiation Physics and Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


The adverse effect of moisture diffusion on the properties of wood has been one of the main weaknesses of wood. Using a gamma irradiation method, wood-polymer composites have been produced which exhibit significant improvement in mechanical properties like compression, creep deformation and creep rupture particularly at high humidity. It has been thought that the impregnation of polymer into the wood has affected the moisture diffusion in the wood, so that its adverse effects on the mechanical properties has been reduced. In this report the apparent diffusion coefficients of a Ramin wood impregnated with varying amounts of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) were determined using a Fick's law approach. An initial linear relationship was found for impregnation of up to 70% PMMA, after which the diffusion coefficient levels off to a maximum value, for the three environmental relative humidity levels of 40, 60 and 90(±5)%. The phenomenon could be explained by means of a cylindrical model with the polymer added as an internal layer onto the wood cell wall. The average maximum reduction in the value of the diffusion coefficient was about 60%. © 1989 Published by Elsevier Ltd.