Decay in Wood Structures

by Robert W. Emmerich, Timber Consultants Inc, Madison, WI, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Evaluation and Upgrading of Wood Structures: Case Studies


One of the main causes of wood deterioration is decay. Decay causes millions of dollars in damage to timber structures each year. Left unchecked, decay deterioration can become a structural problem requiring expensive repairs. Decay deterioration is caused by a primitive form of plant life, called fungi. The fungi can involve themselves with wood in many forms: 1. Molds - Molds generally form on the surface. These molds don't affect the strength of the wood. 2. Stains - Stains penetrate the sapwood and result mainly in discoloration of the wood. The strength is not affected. 3. Decay Fungi - The decay fungi will actually consume the wood as their food. As they do so, the strength of the wood is reduced.

Subject Headings: Wood structures | Decomposition | Wood and wood products | Microbes | Deterioration | Wood preservatives | Health hazards | Strength of materials

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