Novel sustainable protective wood coating

A new paper presents an eco-friendly biocarbon/tung oil coatings with hydrophobic and UV-shielding properties for outdoor wood substrates.

A wooden terrace and wooden terrace furniture.
The addition of nanocrystalline cellulose to ZnO and polymer composites is promising for the protection of wood against the destructive effects of UV light and humidity.  Image source: EmilianDanaila - Pixabay (symbol image).

With wood regaining substantial interest as a construction material due to sustainability concerns and aesthetics trends, efficient and safe protection methods are needed to prevent the discouloration and the loss of mechanical properties of this renewable and UV-sensitive material. In a new study, sustainable coatings comprising 0 to 20 wt% biocarbon (BC) dispersed in tung oil were developed for wood protection. BC particles were added as ultraviolet (UV) absorbers and were produced by various carbonization routes. Two wooden substrates (beech and oak) were coated with the developed coatings and the samples underwent six months of onsite weathering. While the total colour change of uncoated samples and tung oil-coated substrates without BC kept increasing over time and resulted in a clear alteration of the wood surface aesthetics, an increased BC content in the coatings led to enhanced colour stability, with alteration of the colour close to 2 for both wood species after six months of weathering for 10 and 20 wt% BC.

Efficient wood protection

Coating with tung oil made the wooden substrates, initially hydrophilic, become hydrophobic, and the further introduction of biocarbon increased hydrophobicity. However, the increase in BC content was not correlated with an increase in water repellence, the highest water contact angle being observed for 5 % BC, and no further improvement in hydrophobicity was observed with higher BC content. The weathering negatively affected the water repellence of all the samples (i.e., reference samples and coated samples with various BC content). However, the introduction of 20 % BC best protected the decrease in water repellence induced by the onsite weathering.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 177, April 2023.

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