This paper investigates the long-term tensile properties of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beech sections coated with cement and exposed to fungal decay. A set of LVL coupon (dog-bone) samples was stored in compost, tested in tension after 6 and 12 months and compared to reference samples stored at 20 °C and 65% relative humidity. Results showed that after 26 weeks of compost exposure, a fungus of the Ascomycota genus was identified in cement-coated samples using a molecular biology polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, which analyses the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the ribosomal DNA. However, no visual deterioration was noticed. Still in cement-covered samples and after 12 months of exposure, a common white rot fungus was determined by DNA chip technology, but no fungal wood decay was visible in areas where the applied coating had a thickness of at least 5 mm. Decay in uncoated LVL samples was significant with the samples having an average residual strength equal to 7%. This compares to the tensile strength of coated samples, which only decreased by 65% relative to the reference samples. Strength and stiffness of coated samples did not differ significantly between 6 and 12 months of exposure. Preliminary investigations tend to show that the strength reduction in cement-coated samples is due to an alkaline degradation of the wood. The observed influence of the coating thickness on the visual fungal decay can probably be ascribed to the protection mechanism due to a physical fungal barrier with a high pH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)