Classification of timber from Pinus radiata trees exposed to forest fires

Rust, Stephanus Marthinus (2015-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to classify wood from trees that were exposed to forest fires with regards to their end use. Exposure to high temperatures over time is known to degrade wood in various ways. This degradation could limit the end use by altering mechanical, chemical and physical properties, leading to difficulty in processing or failing to meet required specifications for various grades. In this study wood from Pinus radiata trees that were exposed to forest fires of different levels of heat intensity was analysed with regards to its anatomical and physical changes. Trees were visually classified into three classes of burn severity. Moisture content measurements were taken from 135 standing trees, divided among the three classes. 30 trees, 10 from each of the three classes, were sampled and used for CT analysis. Samples were taken to include growth from before and after the fire. Two samples were taken from each tree, one from the charred and one from the uncharred side. The CT data was analysed and used to measure properties like growth ring width, cell wall thickness, lumen diameter and cell wall density. The data was used to compare properties from the charred and uncharred sides within a given year, as well as compare properties between years. The study showed that there were significant differences in the MC between the burnt and unburnt sides of trees from classes 2 and 3. The difference between the MC measurements on the burnt sides of three classes differed significantly from each other. Lightness measurements were taken on samples from classes 2 and 3. These samples showed no significant difference between the burnt and unburnt sides for either of the two classes. The samples from the less exposed class were lighter, but not significantly so. The macroscopic wood density was determined using core samples. A decrease in wood density was observed with an increase in fire exposure. The mean densities for all three classes however still fulfilled the requirements for structural timber set by the SABS. Growth ring width, cell wall thickness and lumen diameter analysis gave varied results, with some cases showing a decline in properties while others were seemingly unaffected. For many of the outcomes of this study, results found by previous studies could not be reproduced.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het gepoog om bome wat aan plantasiebrande blootgestel is volgens hul eindgebruik te klassifiseer. Dit is bekend dat blootstelling aan hoë tempreature hout in vele maniere afbreuk. Hierdie afbreuking kan die eindgebruik van die hout beperk deur die meganiese, fisiese en chemiese eienskappe sodanig te verander dat dit kan lei tot probleme met verwerking of ongeskiktheid vir sterktegrade. In hierdie studie is Pinus radiata bome wat aan plantasiebrande van verskillende grade blootgestel is ondersoek in terme van hul fisiese en anatomiese veranderinge. Bome is visueel in drie klasse van verskillende brandskade gegroepeer. Voglesings is op 135 staande bome, verdeel tussen die drie klasse, geneem. Monsters is van 30 bome, 10 uit elke klas, geneem vir CT analiese. Monsters is so geneem dat dit groei van voor en na die brand ingesluit het. Daar is twee monsters van elke boom geneem, een van die gebrande en een van die ongebrande kant. Die CT data is geanalieseer en gebruik om eienskappe soos jaarringwydte, selwanddikte, lumendiameter en selwand digtheid te meet. Die data is gebruik om eienskappe tussen die gebrande en ongebrande kante, sowel as tussen jare te vergelyk. Die studie het gewys dat daar noemenswaardige verskille is tussen die voginhoud van die gebrande en ongebrande kante van bome uit klasse 2 en 3. Die voginhoud van die gebrande kante van al drie klasse verkil ook noemenswaardig van mekaar. Ligtheidmetings is gedoen op monsters van klasse 2 en 3. Die monsters het nie ‘n noemenswaardige verskil tussen die gebrande en ongebrande kante getoon nie. Alhoewel die klas 2 monsters ligter vertoon het as die klas 3 monsters, was die verskil nie betekenisvol nie. Houtdigtheid is bepaal deur fisiese metings op die monsters wat vir die CT skandering gebruik is te doen. ‘n Daling in digtheid met ‘n toename in blootstelling aan die brand het duidelik na vore gekom. Die digtheid is egter nog hoog genoeg om aan die vereistes vir strukturele hout te voldoen, soos die die SABS bepaal. Jaarringwydte, selwanddikte en lumen diameter het wisselende resultate opgelewer, met sommige gevalle wat ‘n afname in eienskappe wys en ander wat ooglopend onveranderd was. Vir vele van hierdie uitkoms kon die resultate van vorige studies nie bevestig word nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98097
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