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Adhesive Qualities of Consolidants for Deteriorated Wood

Author(s): Tomoyasu Sakuno and Arno P. Schniewind


Source: Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Spring, 1990), pp.
33-44
Published by: The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works
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ADHESIVE QUALITIES OF CONSOLIDANTS


FOR DETERIORATED WOOD
TOMOYASUSAKUNO AND ARNO P. SCHNIEWIND

ABSTRACT-The adhesive qiilities of commonly used consolidants were investigated by measuring static and impact shear strengths of bonds made in
deteriorated Douglas-fir wood. Acryloid B72, Butvar B98, and AYATwere used in
15% solutions, each with two different solvents. Glue joints made with consolidant
solutions were not as strong as those made with a polyvlnyl acetate emulsion
adhesive, but adhesive qlalities were Judged excellent provided a suitable solvent
was used. Choice of solvent was found to be the most important factor, with
superior performance of polar as compared to nonpolar solvents.

INTRODUCTION
of deteriorated wooden artifacts of historical or archeologlcal sigTHE STABILIZATION
nificance may require consolidation of the degraded wood material. To this end, the wood
may be impregnated with a variety of natural and synthetic materials. The types of
consolldants that might be used and their properties have been thoroughly discussed by
Werner (1977). He particularly addressed the strengthening of deteriorated wood by
Impregnation with thermoplastic resins or other consolidants. Good adhesion between
wood and consolidant is one of the most Important factors for effective strengthening.
Grattan (1980) listed good adhesive qualities as the first among 11 attributes of ideal
consolidants. Consolidants should also perform well as adhesives so that loose fragments
become reattached in the process of consolidation (Barclay 1981; Nakhla 1986).
Grattan (1980) investigated the consolidation of deteriorated wood using different types
of thermoplastic resins and concluded that acrylics and polyvinyl butyrals were the most
effective. Schniewind and Kronkright (1984) selected several consolidants of the acrylic,
polyvinyl butyral, and polyvlnyl acetate types to determine their effectiveness in
strengthening deteriorated wood. An extensively degraded Indian canoe, a lurmjaw,
treated with a polyvinyl acetate resin was investigated. In addition systematic tests were
made on material from Douglas-fir foundation piles that had been buried for about 70
years and had outer layers severely degraded by bacteria. An acrylic (Acryloid B72) and
polyvinyl butyral (Butvar B98) were found to give the greatest improvement in bending
strength.
Furthermore, Wang and Schniewind (1985) treated specimens from the severely
degraded outer layer of piles from the same source with solutions of various combinations
of consolidants and solvents. A detailed examination of the bending strength and stiffness of the treated wood was made. While the strengthening effect unquestionably
depends in some measure on adhesive bonding strength, this relationship was not
investigated directly. The use of the acrylic Acryloid B72 as an adhesive has been
examined (Koob 1986), but the solution was prepared at 50% solids content w/w, ap-

34

Tbmoyasu Sakuno and Ano P. Schniewind

propriate as an adhesive formulation but much too viscous to be suitable for consolidation.
Accordingly, it appeared desirable to study adhesive bonding of thermoplastic resins in
formullations suitable for consolidation. This study is important not only with respect to
the reattachment of loose particles, as already pointed out, but also because the consolidant must be firmly bonded to the material that is being treated in order to obtain the
most effective strengthening.
EPEPWTNTAL

CONSOLDANTS
THREE TYPES of synthetic resins generally considered suitable as consolidants for
degraded wood were used. These were an acrylic (Acryloid B72), a polyvinyl butyral
(Butvar B98), and a polyvinyl acetate (AYATI,their properties are shown in table 1.
According to the resin-solvent combination, the consolidants were divided into two series,
1 and 2. In series 1, the solvents were of the polar type: acetone for B72 and ethanol for
B98 and AYAT. In series 2, the nonpolar toluene was used for B72 and AYAT,while for
B98 a 60:40 mixture (weight basis) of toluene and ethanol had to be used since the
manufacturer did not list any suitable pure nonpolar solvent. In all cases, the concentration of the solution was held constant at 15% on a weight basis. At this concentration,
solutions have sufficiently low viscosity to be suitable for consolidation treatments, since
even at 20% concentrations complete penetration could be achieved in small specimens
(Wang and Schniewind 1985). Preliminary experiments using solutions of 10, 15, and
20% concentrations did not reveal any significant differences in the resulting bond
strength using a tensile shear test Therefore the entire study was conducted using only
15% concentration. The viscosity of each solution was measured with a Brookfleld
viscometer.

TABLE 1
Properties of Conanlidants
Resintype:
Maker:
Tradename:
Molecularweight:
Series 1

Acrylic
PolyvinylButyral
R/Ihm&HaasCo. MorsPntoPlastics&Resins
ButvarB98
AcryloidB72
30,000-34,000

acetone
Solvent:
Concentration
(%):
10
Viscosity*(CPS):
Solvent:

toluene

Series2
Concentration
(%):
Viscosity*(CPS):
*Using a Brookfieldviscometer

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

15
16

PolyvinylAcetate
UnionCarbideCorp.
AYAT
167,000

ethanol
15
360

ethanol
15
28

toluene : ethanol
60 : 40

toluene

325

15
87

Adhesive Quialitiesof Consoldantsfor


Dete, lkuJaedWood

35

Fig. 1. Sections of deterioratedfoundation piles

WOOD
DEGRADED
The raw material was from foundation piles buried for about 70 years near the San
Francisco wateifiont. The properties of these piles are given in detail in a separate report
(Schniewind, Gammon, and Bendtsen 1982). The remains of four of the piles, originally
nlnmbered 5, 9, 12, and 16, were selected for the present study. The length differed for
each pile, ranging from 32 ft for pile 16 to 64 ft for pile 5. From each pile, three sections
were selected: one from near the butt, one from the middle portion, and one from near the
top (as referred to the tree; since piles are driven top first, the top is the end buried most
deeply in the ground). Some representative sections are shown in figure 1.

FABRICATION
OFADHESIVESHEARTESTSPECIMENS
Material to be used for bonding was, as much as possible, taken from the portion
nearest the surface of each pile section and conditioned at 70'F and 65% relative
humidity. It was desired to evaluate bond quality by shear tests in both a static and an
impact mode of testing. To simplify the process, identical specimens were used for both
types of test. The machining process for preparing specimen material is illustrated in
figure 2. Note that the face to be bonded was always the face closest to the original
surface of the piles, that is, the region with the most severe degree of deterioration. The
resulting specimen blanks were planed smooth and cut into pairs of small blocks, one
measuring 3/8 x 1 x 1 in and the other 3/4 x 1 x 1 3/4 in.
These blocks were then bonded together to form test specimens according to ASTM
specification D950 (ASTM 1987), using each of the resins with their respective series 1

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

36

Tbmoyasu Sakuno and Amo P. Schniewind

cr4)

a
-

?-

-D

TEST

SPECIMEN

,=

MBLINE

7-7

Fig. 2. Preparation of test specimens. (dimensions in inches)

and series 2 solvents. The resin was applied to both surfaces at a spread of 0.233 kg/m2
of single glue line. The blocks were then tightly clamped and left overnight.
Following the same method, a polyvinyl acetate (PVA)emulsion adhesive, a common
woodworking glue (Elmer's White Glue), was also used. This adhesive was used at full
strength in order to obtain maximum bond strength for comparison.
Three test specimens (replications) were made for each combination of treatment, pile,
and within-pile location. This procedure would have produced a total of 252 specimens
each for both static and impact shear tests. However, the top section of pile 16 yielded
only enough material for two instead of three replications for the resins with series 2
solvents, which reduced the total to 249 specimens each for static and for impact testing.
IMPACTAND STATICSHEAR BLOCK SIRENGTH 7TST
After conditioning the test specimens for one week at 70F and 65% relative humidity,
impact and static shear strength tests were conducted. The impact shear strength test
was conducted following the methods specified in ASTM D950, except that an Forest
Products Laboratory toughness testing machine with a modified specimen holder as
shown in figure 3 was used. The static shear strength test was made using the same test
specimen configuration and a universal testing machine with a standard shear test tool.
Testing speed was 0.024 in/min of the movable cross-head.

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

37

Adhesive Qlalitles of Cosolidants for


Deteriorated Wood

Fig. 3. Specimen holder for impact shear tests

TABLE 2
Static Bond Shear Strength by Treatments and Piles

Adhesive

Pile Number:
Specificgravity*:

5
0.38

9
0.41

12
0.33

573**
113

668
133

628
138

643
49***

B98/ethanol
B98/toluene-ethanol

670
483

507
417

522
533

655
564***

AYAT/ethanol
AYAT/toluene

495
134

584
104

424
1273**

743

PVA emulsion

777

867

622

1311

464

469

427

577

Resin/solvent:
B72/acetone
B72/toluene

Grandaverage:

16
0.45

* Based on green
weight and oven-dryvolume
** Shear strength values
given in psi
***Means of
eight observationseach; all other treatment means are averages of nine tests.

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

38

Tbmoyasu Sakuno and Amo P. Schniewind

RESULTS
VISCOSITIESOF resin consolidant solutions are shown in table 1. Values range from 10
to 360 centipoise (CPS), much less than commercial adhesives for wood, which rarely
have viscosities of less than 800 and more commonly of 2,000-3,000 centipoise.
STATICSHEAR STRENGTH
Experiments had been originally designed to detect if differences in degree of deterioration from one pile to the next, or from one location within a pile to the next, might cause
differences in adhesive bond strength. Statistical analysis of the data (using a general
linear model because of the unequal number of replications) indicated that there were
statistically significant differences due foremost to treatment, but also to pile and an
interaction between pile and treatment. Location and other interactions were not significant. The data were therefore combined into average values of nine (in some cases
eight) observations each and are shown in table 2.
The specific gravity of the outer layer of pile 12 was lowest and of pile 16 the highest.
There was also evidence that the degree of deterioration was greatest in pile 12 and least
in pile 16. The same ordering was found for static bond shear strength, which would be
expected as wood strength is proportional to specific gravity, and wood strength is an
important factor in bond strength except when there is poor adhesion. Pile 16 gave both
the lowest values (B72 and AYATin toluene) and the highest values (AYATin ethanol and
PVA emulsion adhesive). These values are a major reason for finding the interaction of
treatment and pile statistically significant
The between-pile variation, which represents between-tree variation, is part of the total
variability that will inevitably be encountered with a natural product such as wood. The
data were therefore further combined into average values of 36 (or 35) observations,
leaving only treatment effects, and are shown in table 3. Static shear strength was
highest for the PVA emulsion adhesive, which should not be surprising since it is the only
medium of the seven tested that had been specifically formulated as an adhesive. Next in
strength, at about 2/3 the strength of the PVA emulsion adhesive, is the series 1 group of
consolidants consisting of each resin with a polar solvent (acetone or ethanol). Butvar
B98 with the mixture of ethanol and toluene as solvent was somewhat less strong, but
Acryloid B72 and AYATwith toluene gave very little shear strength so that series 2 as a
whole had much lower values than series 1. This is further illustrated in figure 4.
The percentage of wood failure is another indicator of adhesive bond integrity. In
industrial settings, wood failure percentages of 100 are desirable, and this level has been
virtually achieved with the PVA emulsion adhesive. It thus represents the maximum
bond strength that could be obtained with the wood samples of this study since the
strength of the bond is almost entirely controlled by the strength of the wood itself. For
B72 and AYAT in toluene where shear strength was very low, 0% wood failure was
obtained, while for the other systems it ranged from 16% to 28%.
IMPACTSHEAR SIRENGTH
The results of the impact shear strength tests are also summarized in table 3. Results
of statistical analysis were the same as for static bond strength, and values were again
combined in the same manner and are listed as averages of 36 (or 35) observations.

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

39

Adhesive Qualitts of Consoldants for


Deteriorated Wood

TABLE 3
Shear Test Results by Treatments

Adhesive

Series

Static shear test


Shear
Wood
strength failure
(%)
(psi)

Impact shear test


Wood
Shear
failure
energy
(in-lbs/in) (%)

Resin/Solvent
B72/acetone
B72/toluene

1
2

628*
108

22
0

26.8
6.9

6
0

1
B98/ethanol
B98/toluene-ethanol 2

588
499

28
21

32.0
32.8

26
39

1
2

561
109

16
0

24.3
9.6

6
0

895

97

46.4

97

AYAT/ethanol
AYAT/toluene
PVA emulsion

* Each value is an average of 36 tests for series 1 and of 35 tests for series 2.

The trends for impact shear strength are much the same as for static shear tests, since
the PVA emllsion adhesive gave the highest, and B72 and AYATof series 2 the lowest
values of impact energy consumed during the test, as shown in figure 5. The main
difference is that B98 gave almost identical results regardless of solvent and that these
results were higher than the B72 and AYATseries 1 values. This result is also reflected in
the values for percentage of wood failure, since only B98 among the consolidants showed
significant amounts of wood failure, while for B72 and AYATit ranged from very little to
none.

DISCUSSION
THEADHESIVEQUALITESOFTHECONSOLIANmT
THE BONDING properties or adhesive qualities of the consolidants can perhaps be
evaluated best by comparing them with adhesives ordinarily used for wood. For this
comparison a PVA emulsion adhesive was selected and used as the reference standard in
this study.
There was a significant difference between the bond strength of the consolidants and
the PVA emulsion adhesive. This result can be attributed to two factors, both of which
relate to the fact that the PVA emulsion adhesive was specifically formulated as an
adhesive whereas the consolidant solutions were formulated with other objectives. In
particular, consolidant solutions must have low viscosity to obtain optimum penetration,
a quality considered undesirable for adhesives. Excessive penetration of an adhesive into

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

TomoyasuSakunoand Amo P. Schniewtnd

40

1uuu

800-

600-

L_

-,cn

U)
L-

~PP

400-

+
N

200 -

U)

I~~~~~~~~~

PVAemulsion
adhesive

AYAT

B72

B98

Fig. 4. Staticshearstrengthforeachbondingmedium,P indicatingpolarand


N nonpolarsolvents
50
C

c
U)
-0
..Q

C
U)
Q)

L-

40-

30-

P
p

20-

p P
+
N

_C)
V)

0
0

10-

PVAemulsion
adhesive

AYAT

B72

B98

Fig. 5. Impactshearenergyforeachbondingmedium,P indicatingpolarand


N nonpolarsolvents

JAIC29 (1990):33-44

Adhesive Qualit$es of Consolidantsfor


Deterior'ted Wood

41

the porous wood structure may leave insufficient adhesive on the surface of the adherend,
a condition known as "starved Joints." Another factor is that the consolidant solutions
had the very low resin solids content of only 15% as compared to 70% for the PVA
emulsion adhesive. Considering these factors, we can conclude that the consolidant
solutions of series 1 have excellent adhesive qualities which are about the same for all
three of the resins tested.
In the case of series 2, B72 and AYATexhibited very poor bonding quialities with the
nonpolar solvent, whereas B98 with a mixture of polar and nonpolar solvent had equal
impact bond strength and only somewhat reduced static bond shear strength as compared to series 1. Wang and Schniewind (1985) found similarly that B72 and B98 gave
generally better strength Improvement when used as consolidants in pure polar as compared to nonpolar solvents either pure or in mixture. It is possible that the relatively
short time of one week between bonding and testing contributed to the differences in
solvent pelfoiinance, since toluene is known to be retained more tenaciously than other
solvents, particularly by Acryloid B72 (Horie 1987). However, it is not believed that this
quality can explain more than a fraction of the difference, especially considering that
essentially the same results were obtained with both Acryloid B72 and AYAT.
Several studies of the effectiveness of consolidants for deteriorated wood in terms of
their strengthening capability have ranked Butvar B98 first, followed in order by Acryloid
B72 and AYAT(Grattan 1980; Schniewind and Kronkright 1984; Wang and Schniewind
1985). In the present study B98 also pe-fornmedbest in adhesion as measured by impact
test, while all three resins had about equal adhesive qualities as measured in static shear
test, provided that polar solvents were used. In terms of adhesive qualities, it therefore
appears that the most important choice to be made is that of solvent; the choice of resin is
secondary. The results of bond tests and strength tests of consolidated wood will not
necessarily be the same, since effective strengthening depends not only on adhesion but
also on the cohesive strength of the resin. The latter differs substantially among the three
resins studied here, with B98 showing the greatest cohesive strength (Schniewind and
Kronkright 1984).
THE EFFECT OF ADHERENDPROPERTIESON BONDINGSTRENGTH
The energy absorbed in impact shear by sound Douglas-fir wood was found to range
from 48 to 76 in-lb/in2, and for sound wood bonded with PVAemulsion adhesive from 58
to 72 in-lb/in2. The maximum static shear strength parallel to the grain of coast type
Douglas-flr is 1130 psi when dry at a mean specific gravity of 0.45 (based on green weight
and volume) (Forest Products Laboratory 1987). By comparison, the deteriorated Douglasflr piles used in this study had specific gravity values ranging from 0.33 to 0.45 (table 2)
for the outermost 1-in layer. At the surface where bonding was effected, the specific
gravity was most likely even lower than the reported values, since the deterioration
progresses from the outside inward. The particular density of each pile is a function of
both natural variability and mass loss because of deterioration. Sakuno and Goto (1969)
found that the density of wood significantly affects both the static block shear
strength
and absorbed energy in impact shear. In this study the same trends were obtained for
the PVA emulsion adhesive and also when results were averaged over all seven treatments. Since at least part of the observed specific gravity variation is due to deteriomation, the condition of the wood will have an important effect on the bond
strength that can
be achieved. The greater the mass loss due to deterioration, the lower the
bond
will tend to be. However, when used as consolidants, the resins studied are more strength
effective

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

42

Tbmoyasu Sakuno and Amo P. Schniewind

strengtheners for highly deteriorated than for nearly sound wood (Schniewind and

Kronkright1984).
ENERGYABSORBEDINIMPACT
SHEAR
BETWEEN
CORRELATION
ANDSTAIC SHEARS2RENGTH
Sakuno and Goto (1973) found that there was a highly significant correlation between
energy absorbed in impact shear and static shear strength of wood bonded with various
types of adhesives. Al of static shear strength and impact shear energy data of series 1
and 2, averaged over three (or two where applicable) replications, were plotted against
each other, as shown in figure 6. A high correlation coefficient of 0.87 was obtained.
This result implies that whichever test is conducted, the value of the other can be
estimated from the regression equation.
CONCLUSIONS
ACRYLOIDB72, Butvar B98, and AYATsolutions suitable for consolidation were investigated for their adhesive qualities and compared to a polyvinyl acetate emulsion adhesive. The most important factor governing adhesive strength was found to be the

(/)
_0

I
_CT
L_

Q)
-

Ca

E
0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

Static shear strength, psi


Fig. 6. Plot of impact shear energy vs. static shear strength, showing regression equation and
correlation coefficient,r. Each point is an average of three (in some cases two) observations.

JAIC 29 (1990): 33-44

Adhesive Qualities of Consolantsfor


Deteriorated Wood

43

choice of solvent, since polar solvents gave much better results than nonpolar ones. Even
the best consolidant solutions did not give adhesive bonds as strong as those afforded by
the PVA emulsion adhesive. However, the basic adhesive qualities of all three resins were
Judged excellent if a suitable solvent was used. The nature and condition of the wood
adherend were also found to be important factors in the bond strength that could be
obtained.

RMWtsNCES
AmericanSociety for Testing and Materials. 1987. Standardtest for impact strength of adhesive
bonds, D950-82. InAnualBook ofASM Stardards.Vol. 15.06, Adhestves. PhRladelphia:
ASTM.
Barclay, R 1981. Wood consolidationof an eighteenth century English fire engine. Studies tn
Consenvation
26:133-39.
Forest Products Laboratory. 1987. Wood handbook: Wood as an engineering material. Agriculture
Handbook. No. 72. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Grattan,D. W. 1980. Consolidantsfor degradedand daniagedwood. In P foceednags


of thefuniure
andrvosden obJects symnposium Ottawa: CanardlrnConservation Institute. 27-42.

Horie,C. V. 1987. MaterialsforconservationLondon:Butterworths.


Koob, S. P. 1986. The use of ParaloidB-72 as an adhesive: Its applicaton for archaeological
ceramics and other materials. Studies In Conservation 31:7-14.

Nakhla, S. M. 1986. A cuulpalative study of resins for the consolidation of wooden objects. Studies

n Conservation31: 38-44.

Sakuno, T., and T. Goto. 1969. Studies on the impact strengthof adhesives, III,Effectsof specic

gravity, pH, and wettability. Bulletin of the Faculty of Agriculture,Shimane University, 3:55-60.
Sakuno, T., and T. Goto. 1973.

Studies on the impact strength of adhesives, IV, Estimation of

wood-glueJointby impactload (1).MokuzaiGakkaishi19(11):533-37.

Schniewind,A. P., B. GOrmon, and B. A Bendtsen. 1982. Strength of untreated Dougas-fir


foundationpiles aftersome 70 years'service. ForestProductsJournal32(11/12):39-46.
Schniewind,A. P., and D. P. Kronkright. 1984. Strengthevaluationof deterioratedwood treated
with consolidants. In Adhesives and Condslidants,ed. N. S. Blommelle,E. M. Pye, P. Smith, and G.

Thomson. London: International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. 146-50.

Wang, Y., and A. P. Schniewind. 1985. Consolidation of deteriorated wood with soluble resins.
Journal of the American Institutefor Consernaton 24:1-24.
Wemer, A.EA. 1977. Conaolidation of deteriorated wooden artifacts. In International symposium on
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Tokyo: Tokyo National
Research Institute of Cultural Properties. 17-21.

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Tbmoyasu Sakuno and Ano P. Schniewind

TOMOYASUSAKUNO
TOMOYASUSAKUNO was born on May 5, 1939. He received his Bachelor's degree in
Agriculture in 1962 at Tottori University and earned his Ph.D. in Agriculture in Kyoto
University in 1977. His doctoral dissertation was "Studies on Fracture of Wood Glue
Joints under Impact Shear Load." He has worked at the Wood Research Institute of Kyoto
University (1962-64), Shimane University (1964-73) and Tottori University (1973 to
present). In 1985-86 he was a visiting professor at the Forest Products Laboratory,
University of California at Berkeley. He is presently a forestry science piofessor in the
Faculty of Agriculture of Tottori University, Japan. His main field of study is wood gluing
and physical and chemical processing of wood. Address: Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori
University, Koyama, Tottori, 680 Japan.

ARNO P. SCHllNWMND
ARNO P. SCHIEWINDwas trained as a cabinetmaker in Munich, Germany before coming
to the United States. He studied wood technology at the University of Michigan, where he
received B.S., M.W.T., and Ph.D. degrees. He joined the University of California, Forest
Products Laboratory in 1956. He is Professor of Forestry, teaching courses in mechanical
behavior of wood and wood-based materials to undergraduate and graduate students.
His research has traditionally focused on wood mechanics, but in 1982 he met Dale
Kronkright, who got him interested in the application of wood science to the conservation
of wood artifacts. Address: Forest Products Laboratory, University of California at
Berkeley, College of Natural Resources, 1301 South 46th Street, Richmond, California
94804.

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