Moisture content dependence of vibrational properties of wood

Brémaud Iris and Gril Joseph

Moisture content dependence of anisotropic vibrational properties of wood at quasi equilibrium: analytical review and multi-trajectories experiments .

Holzforschung Ahead of Print. (2020)


Abstract: This article aims at providing a synthetic view of the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) dependence of wood vibrational properties (i.e. dynamic mechanical properties in the audio-frequency range), including specific dynamic modulus of elasticity (E′/γ) and damping coefficient expressing internal friction (tanδ). A series of multi-trajectories experiments was designed to complete an analytical review. Literature indicates that: (1) in longitudinal (L) direction, the EMC dependence of E′/γ shows a very consistent shape (rather linear) between studies, while its shape is non-linear for tanδ and varies significantly between studies; (2) EMC dependence of tanδ is rather well documented in the L direction, in adsorption, for softwoods, but data covering EMC dependence in both L and other anisotropic directions, and sorption hysteresis, are still scarce. Experiments were conducted on a softwood (spruce) and a hardwood (maple), in L and radial (R) directions, in full adsorption from oven-dry state, full desorption from water-saturated state, and relative humidity (RH) loops without extreme conditioning. Measurements were made at conditions considered “at equilibrium” and some were monitored through time. Results indicated that tanδ was much more (×3) sensitive to EMC differences than E′/γ. R properties, especially tanδ R, were much more (×2–3) sensitive than L properties – resulting in strong increase of anisotropy with increasing EMC. In L direction, differences due to EMC remained moderate compared to the natural variability of wood for E′/γ, while for tanδ the EMC-induced changes were at least equal to natural variability in high-grade spruce. Vibrational properties did exhibit a hysteresis as a function of RH, but very little hysteresis as a function of EMC. The tanδ-EMC relation strongly depended on the actual time of stabilisation after reaching EMC. A related paper will address the transient, out of equilibrium effects of changing moisture conditions on the vibrational properties of wood.

Keywords: Anisotropy; damping by internal friction; equilibrium moisture content dependence; sorption history; specific dynamic modulus of elasticity; viscoelastic vibrational properties .