Retification is a heat treatment that decreases the swelling of wood and increases its resistance to fungal attack. It consists in a mild pyrolysis of wood (180°C-260°C) that takes place in a non oxidative atmosphere (nitrogen). The industrial development of retification requires optimisation of the treatment temperature and duration. In order to enhance the homogeneity of temperature in the furnace, and to avoid exothermic reaction, low temperatures seem to be preferable to high temperature. On the contrary, duration and temperature of treatment have to be high enough to provide good biological resistance and stabilization to the wood. However, high temperatures lead to a loss of mechanical strength. A question arises from these previous observations: is there any equivalence between a treatment of short time carried out at high temperature and a treatment of longer time at lower temperature? Answering this question can help to optimise rétification temperature and duration. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relevance of a “time temperature equivalence” (TTE) for wood pyrolysis in the temperature range of retification. The principle of TTE is adapted from the study of wood viscoelastic properties. In this study, it is applied to the rate of anhydrous weight loss during wood pyrolysis. Thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) were performed on maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.-) and beech (Fagus sylvatica) wood powder. Isothermal degradations were carried out at different temperatures ranging from 160°C to 260°C. A specific data analyse was carried out on the TGA derivative (DTG) in order to assess the relevance of the TTE in the temperature range of retification. It gave interpretable results for maritime pine, but not for beech. It showed that for maritime pine wood the TTE is confirmed from 200°C to 220°C, and not confirmed for temperatures superior to 230°C. An optimization of the temperature and time of treatment is thus possible.
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