Cork oak (Quercus suber L.) wood hygroscopic properties and dimensional stability

S. Leal, V. B Sousa, H. Pereira


Cork oak (Quercus suber L.) wood has a potential for high value uses because of its strength and aesthetic properties but one obstacle is the lack of knowledge of the wood-water relations. Variations in wood equilibrium moisture content, density and dimensions were studied at air temperatures of 22°C and 27°C (representing acclimatized homes and summer non-acclimatized homes, respectively) varying from 80% to 30% of relative humidity. For indoor uses (22-27°C, 50-65% of relative humidity), the wood equilibrium moisture content ranged 12-17% and these values are recommended for the final commercial drying of cork oak wood. The fibre saturation point averaged 27%. Total volumetric shrinkage at 22°C-27°C averaged 12%, the linear shrinkage 8.1-8.5% and 3.6-3.6%, respectively in tangential and radial directions. Anisotropy averaged 2.3. Wood density at 12% moisture content ranged 0.63 to 0.67 g/cm3. The higroscopicity obtained was 0.003. The average tangential differential shrinkage was 0.32 for both temperatures and the average radial differential shrinkage was 0.14 and 0.15, at 22°C and 27°C respectively. The shrinkage factor was 0.90 cm3/g and 0.82 cm3/g, at 22°C and 27°C respectively. Differences between temperatures were only statistically significant at 80-70% of relative humidity.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2012213-02104