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    Moisture absorption and dimensional distortion are the major drawbacks of wood utilization as building material. In this study, poplar wood coated with a thin layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) was prepared by the cosolvent-controlled hydrothermal method. Subsequently, its moisture absorption and dimensional stability were examined. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed that the wood substrate was closely and entirely covered with the TiO2 coat. Microscale features were visible despite masking of the ultrastructural features of the cell wall. To explore the effects of TiO2 coating on the water-repellency and dimensional stability of wood, a 90-day water immersion test was carried out. Results showed that water absorption and thickness swelling of TiO2 coated wood increase very slowly and minimally. Weight change after 90 days of water immersion was reduced to 20.5%, nearly one-tenth of untreated control wood, and that maximum cross-sectional relative swelling was only 1.2%. Specimens were conditioned for 3 months at 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90% relative humidity (RH) to determine the effects of RH on moisture absorption and dimensional swelling of TiO2-coated wood. There was no change in weight after 3 months of being exposed to humidity conditions below 60%, whereas there was linear weight increase above 60% RH, but the maximum change was less than 6%. Cross-sectional relative swelling was less than 0.3% below 60% RH but increased as RH exceeded 60%. The maximum change was approximately 3%. Anisotropic thickness swelling of wood was almost eliminated after coating. It is obvious that TiO2 coating can act as a moisture barrier for wood and is an exceptionally strong water vapor-inhibiting shield under very humid conditions.

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    Sun, Qingfeng; Yu, Haipeng; Liu, Yixing; Li, Jian; Lu, Yun; Hunt, John F. 2010. Improvement of water resistance and dimensional stability of wood through titanium dioxide coating. Holzforschung. 64(6): 757-761.


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    Titanium dioxide, coatings, testing, moisture, building materials, weathering, absorption, deterioration, water repellents, poplar, scanning electron microscopy, humidity, anisotropy, moisture content, dimensional stability, swelling, Populus ussuriensis, weight of wood, hydrothermal method

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