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Background: Nowadays, demands for more environmentally friendly and cost effective preservatives are increasing, and new non-traditional procedures are being explored in wood protection field. Plant oils improve the dimensional stability, water repellency and equilibrium moisture content of wood, and protects wood against decay fungi by means of its hydrophobic properties. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of heat treatment and oil impregnation with or without prior treatment with boron compounds on wetting characteristic of wood. Wood specimens were impregnated with boric acid, borax and agricultural boron at concentrations of 1%, 2% and 5% followed by oil heat treated with waste and sunflower oil at 160ºC. Wettability was measured by contact angle with the sessile drop technique using water.
Results: Water contact angles on oil treated specimens increased while wetting tension decreased, and the wood more poorly wetted by water compared to the controls. A change in the drop volume on the surface of double treated specimens was around 5% based on the initial drop volume. Waste oil treatment resulted in having the greatest water repellent efficiency. High loadings of boron compounds decreased the contact angle and therefore the quantity of water absorbed by the wood increased.
Conclusion: Wettability was decreased in specimens pretreated with boron and this confirmed that the hydrophobic surface was created by oil. Wettability is a prerequisite for good adhesion, coating and painting and this attribute may be reduced by the less hydrophilic surfaces created after oil heat treatment.
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