FWPA Building Innovations

Kebony Wood Treatment

Kebony is a new environmentally friendly treatment that makes timber more durable, harder and more stable. Kebony upgrades targeted species to having characteristics similar to hardwoods. The products resembles teak and other tropical varieties of wood. One of the notable benefits of the process is resistance to weather and wear. Other notable benefits are exceptionally good decay resistance and a long life span.  The main component in the treating solution is furfuryl alcohol (FA). FA is a renewable chemical produced from hydrolysed biomass waste. The timber is vacuum pressure impregnated with a treating solution by the full cell process with a vacuum step, a pressure and a short post vacuum step. The timber will achieve a brown colour after the treatment, but will turn grey during outdoor exposure. The products can be painted or stained if different colours are wanted.   Kebony is used as a floor material and is also used in wood based furniture.

Benefits

Kebony products are FSC certified and utilise renewable resources (biomass waste). The product is an alternative to preservatives that are more toxic containing heavy metals etc. There are no restrictions on waste materials, and they are put in the same category as untreated timber materials. Test results (tested according to AWPA Standard Method E1-97) indicate an improved resistance against termite attack. The key properties indicate long life (above ground, in ground contact and in marine environments), maintenance free and good surface treatment applicability.

Limitation

Compared to untreated timber materials, FA treated timber is expensive. The strength of the timber is somewhat reduced because the process breaks down some of the cross linking properties within the wood.

Comments

This improved wood/treatment process is encouraging and a positive initiative as it has the potential to address many of the environmental shortcomings of conventional treatments if the economies and claimed properties are realised. The extent of durability performance needs to be determined under Australian conditions including weathering, ultra-violet light, discolouration and termite attack. Species that the treatment can be applied to also need to be determined. Australia has the necessary bio-mass industry (sugar cane) to provide the FA. The costs of the process are reported to be a significant issue as well as the industrial considerations associated with the use of FA at high temperatures.

Website

www.kebony.com

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About FWPA

Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA), a not for profit company, is the Australian forestry and wood  products industry’s service provider, investing in research and development, and providing research results and generic promotions to the Australoian industry. FWPA aims to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian forest and wood products industry through innovation, investment in effective and relevant R&D and communication of the results to stakeholders. Read more about FWPA at www.fwpa.com.au

Contact FWPA

Forest and Wood Products Australia
Level 11, 10-16 Queen Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

Phone: +61 3 9927 3200
Fax: +61 3 9927 3288
Email: info@fwpa.com.au