A Mass Transport Model for Drying Wood under Isothermal Conditions
Journal article, 2007
Mass transport in wood during drying can have different mechanisms at different periods of drying. Depending on the current moisture content (MC) and the structure of the wood, the driving forces for the mass transport are essentially different. Above the fiber saturation point (FSP), the lumens are partially saturated and the transport of liquid (free) water occurs as a consequence of capillary action. On the other hand, below the FSP, bound water within the cell walls is conveyed by diffusion, and water vapor in the lumens moves under influence of pressures gradient. Based on these considerations, a unified model is presented that takes into account the transport of the different moisture phases. Simulation of the drying of a Norway spruce sample at 50°C from about 135 to 7% MC is carried out using the finite element method (FEM). Comparison between the simulated average MC and the experimental observations obtained from X-ray computed tomography (CT) shows reasonable agreement. Possible simplifications in the model are briefly discussed as well as some aspects of the numerical implementation. Finally, the influence of absolute permeability on the average MC is studied.