– Wood is in many ways an ideal material for use in construction; It is lightweight, strong in relation to its weight, is easily accessible and is relatively inexpensive. Outdoors, the moisture level is higher than indoors and therefore the material must withstand biological attacks such as rotting and mold. This has previously been prevented by impregnating wood with toxic substances, but improved knowledge and new laws means you want to avoid these and develop more sustainable wood protection methods, says Olov Karlsson, Associate professor of Wood Science and Engineering in Skellefteå.
Thermal treatment of wood is a relatively new and environmentally friendly method without added synthetic chemicals. One of the advantages is that the wood resists fungal attack better when the wood is heat treated. However, uncertainty about the heat treatment's effectiveness, in particular, against fungal growth, is a problem for producers and consumers.
– In the project we will try to understand and prevent fungal attacks on the thermal treated wood. The results will lead to better processes and improved material properties for thermal treated wood to prevent fungal growth under subarctic conditions, says Olena Myronycheva, PhD student at Wood Science and Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.