Administrative Report Or Publication


Conserving energy by environmentally acceptable practices in maintaining and procuring transmission poles for long service ; August 1987 Public Deposited

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  • This seventh annual report outlines our continued progress on each of six objectives. Improved fumigants: We continue to evaluate previously established field tests, which inlicate that chioropicrin continues to protect Douglas-fir poles after 17 years and piling after 12 years. Vorlex treated poles are being gradually recolonized by decay fungi, while the Vapam treated poles appear to have little resistance to decay fungi. The latter poles were retreated last summer and will be used to determine the effectiveness of fumigant retreatment. Solid methylisothiocyanate (NIT) continues to protect Douglasfir poles, although the 20 percent NIT treatment has experienced slightly higher levels of colonization after 9 years. Additional tests to evaluate the effectiveness of gelatin encapsulated MIT or chioropicrin indicate that both chemicals continue to remain effective. In addition, there now appears to be little difference between the levels of control exhibited following addition of varying amounts of water to the poles along with gelatin encapsulated NIT. Closed tube bioassays indicate the chioropicrin remains at fungitoxic levels after 17 years, while no volatile fungitoxins appear to be present in Vapam or Vorlex treated wood. The evaluation of untreated Douglas-fir posts treated with NIT, chloropicrin, or Vapam indicate that fumigants can not ccatletely protect untreated wood in ground contact unless there is sane other type of preservative treated barrier present. Although the NIT treatment provided the best protection, all of the posts experienced some surface decay and termite attack after 10 years. These results appear similar to those found with more recent tests of posts treated with various coLthinations of preservative containing wraps and fuinigants. Evaluation of Mylone and tridipain, two solid chemicals that degrade to produce NIT, initcates that NIT production and fungal control are enhanced by the addition of basic pH buffers; however, only the pH 12 buffer resulted in rapid fungal control. These results Jnitcate that the rate of fumigant release can be tailored to control specific decay problems. We have also investigated the decomposition of Vapam in wood. As previously reported, there are over 14 potential deccmposition products from this chemical. This past year we developed methods for assaying these chemicals, evaluated the long-term stability of each, and prepared test blocks for evaluating decc*,osjtion in wood. In addition, we have studied the migration of volatile compounds from Vapam and NIT treated blocks under controlled aeration. After 5,000 hours, detectable levesis of NIT, carbon disulfide, and carbon oxysulfide are still present in air surrounding the Douglas-fir blocks. These tests indicate that low levels of volatile chemicals are continuously eninitted from fumigant treated wood. While this poses little difficulty for utility poles, it may pose some hazard for wood in closed spaces. Evaluations will continue until the emission levels decline below detectable limits. In addition to Vapam deccmposition studies, we have also evaluated the decoxrosition, movement and fungitoxicity of NIT under a variety of environmental conditions. In general, wet wood held less NIT, but the degree of control produced was more rapid. These results suggest that dry wood will act as a reseivoir of NIT, which will be released as moisture enters and swells the wood. This effect may provide an excellent long-term decay control strategy. The information from these studies will be used to develop more 111 ecific recaimrndations for fumigant treatment. Cedar Saood Decay Control: This past year we reestablished the field test of promising nei pentachiorophenol replacements, incorporating 26 chemicals into these tests. These saitles will be evaluated after 1 and 2 years to determine efficacy. In addition to the field test, we evaluated 13 new formulations or cinations of formulations in our laboratory screening tests. A nuner of chemicals including Isothiazolone, Amical 48 and a nurrer of quaternary aimnonium compounds appear promising and have been included in the field test. Bolt Hole Decay Prevention: Test established 5 years ago to determine the effectiveness of sprays, liquids or pastes applied to field drilled bolts holes indicate that airanonium bifluoride, Boracol 40, and 10% penta provided greater protection than Polybor or Patox washers. In addition, no evidence of corrosion was associated with any of the treatments. Fumigant treatments below the bolt holes continue to eliminate decay fungi, although samples removed from further down the pole indicate an incoIr)1ete distribution of MIT. These tests will be reevaluated this coming year. Detecting Early Decay and Estimating Residual Strength: We continue to evaluate the use of fluorescent coupled lectins and infra-red spectroscopy for detecting fungi in wood and early decay under controlled laboratory conditions. We have also continued evaluation of longitudinal compression (L) as a measure of ultite wood strength using a series of 27 Ldgepole pine posts. While the dense knot clusters interferred with the analysis, LCS, in combination with other parameters, was a reasonably good predictor of bending strength. These tests will continue with more uniform material. iv In addition to tests of LCS, we have evaluated the ability of small scal e tests to determine the strength of various wood pole connectors. Out results were in close agreement with those obtained using full scale tests aii illustrate the value of using small r1 e tests to develop strength information. Initiation of Decay in Air-Seasoning Douglas-fir: We continue to evaluate the data developed in the air-seasoning st1wies. This past year we began to develop information on the effects of various colony sizes on wood strength. This data will help us assign strength values to the colony size data we ha developed frau the air-seasoning study. At present, only Peniophora spp. has been tested, but . carbonica, P. placenta, and Haematostereum sanguinolentuin will also be included. Evaluation of the teinperatures required to eliminate fungi from Douglas-f ir poles also continue. We have ccatpleted 9 test charges which indicate that the penta treatmants involving a Boulton-seasoning cycle result in a ixre than adequate heating of the wood, while steam treants associated with amnniacal copper arsenate are nre variable. We feel that longer heating periods are required for poles greater than 12 inches in diamater, but that the current 6 hour steam period will result in heating of the center to 67 C for over 1 hour in smaller poles. Microfungi in Douglas-fir Poles: We continue to evaluate the effects of nticrofungi on properties of fumigant treated Douglas-fir poles. These tests indicate that prior colonization of fumigant treated wood by Scytalidium or Trichoderma species resulted in lower weight losses by P. placenta and . carbonica. Evaluation of a Cellon treated Douglas-fir laminated beam indicated that V severe penta depletion was associated with virtually all of the surface decay present. This beam had only been in service for 12 years in an extremely dry climate arxl it is unclear why the decay was so rapid.
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