EFFECT OF THERMO-MECHANICAL TREATMENT ON PROPERTIES OF PARICA PLYWOODS (Schizolobium amazonicum Huber ex Ducke)
ABSTRACT Thermo-mechanical treatment is a technique for wood modification in which samples are densified by means of heat and mechanical compression, applied perpendicularly to fibers, which under different combinations of time, temperature, and pressure increases wood density and thus improve some of its properties. This study aimed to treat thermo-mechanically parica plywood and observe the effects on its physical and mechanical properties. Specimens were submitted to two treatments, 120 and 150 ºC, remaining under pressure for seven minutes and, subsequently, under zero pressure for 15 minutes. Results showed a significant increase in specific mass from 0.48 g cm-3 to an average of 0.56 g cm-3, and a compression ratio of about 31.7% on average. Physical properties also varied significantly and results showed that treated samples swelled and absorbed more water than those untreated, leading to a greater thickness non-return rate. This indicates the proposed thermal treatments did not release the internal compressive stress generated during panel pressing, not improving its dimensional stability as a result. On the other hand, mechanical properties were positively affected, leading to an increase of 27.5% and 51.8% in modulus of rupture after treatments at 120 and 150 ºC, respectively. Modulus of elasticity and glue-line shear strength did not vary statistically and Janka hardness was 29.7% higher after treatment at 150 ºC.