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Development of an affordable heat treatment process for wood (TORCHWOOD)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 28 Feb 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Recent developments of large scale heat treatment processes that use a variety of indirect heat sources are now available, as are traditional preservation treatments which involve certain hazardous chemicals. While these technologies offer some attraction to large scale enterprises, the ability of SMEs to afford this technology makes them an impractical solution. Furthermore these new heat treatment methods affect the chemical and physical structure of the timber, making it more brittle and reducing its physical strength while chemical preservation means that timber can only be used in external applications. We propose the development of a cost effective 2 stage system, firstly, the heat treatment process which will preserve the timber will use a novel microwave based technology to directly heat the timber. Secondly the development of a natural oil formulation to be applied directly to the hot timber within the heating chamber which will restore the natural mechanical and physical properties and maximise the opportunities. The primary target market for the developed technology is the wood and timber market. We currently estimate the market size for our product in Europe to be in excess of €100m."
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