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Transient moisture characteristics of spruce plywood



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In this thesis, the moisture characteristics of spruce plywood are studied experimentally and numerically with special attention given to moisture storage and release as the indoor humidity changes diurnally. This is referred to as the moisture buffering capacity. Two test facilities (a glass jar facility and a transient moisture transfer facility) are used to measure the moisture accumulation and temperature and relative humidity profiles within spruce plywood. These measured data are used to determine the moisture buffering capacity of spruce plywood and validate a one-dimensional transient numerical model that can be used to calculate the transient heat and moisture transfer in spruce plywood. There is good agreement between the measured and simulated results over the range of test variables investigated. This validated numerical model is used to investigate the effect of initial conditions, boundary conditions, thickness and humidity step change on the moisture buffering capacity. In addition, sensitivity studies are performed to investigate the effect of variations in material properties used in the numerical model. The properties that are considered in these sensitivity studies are the sorption isotherm, effective thermal conductivity, heat of sorption and effective diffusion coefficient. These studies show that the sorption isotherm has the greatest effect on the moisture buffering capacity, as well as the temperature and relative humidity profiles within spruce plywood. For example, a ± 10% change in sorption isotherm has a ± 7%, ± 6% and ± 10% effect on the moisture buffering capacity, and the relative temperature and relative humidity change, respectively. This thesis also verifies the moisture diffusivity property for spruce plywood, which was developed by Olutimayin and Simonson (2005) to account for moisture storage in cellulose insulation for a single step change in humidity. It was found that for spruce plywood, the moisture penetration depth may be over predicted by an order of magnitude when moisture storage is neglected using a transient analytic solution which does not include moisture storage.



moisture buffering capacity, uncertainty, convective transfer coefficients., spruce plywood, experimental facility



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


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