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KILN SEASONING

Introduction

Wood is dried or seasoned with the help of artificial heat in kiln seasoning. The material to be seasoned is stacked in special chambers known as seasoning kilns. seasoning kilns which are fitted with the required equipment for Manipulating and controlling the temperature Controlling the relative humidity of the drying air Controlling the circulation of the drying air through the kiln Partial venting

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Advantages

In kiln seasoning the seasoning process can be controlled and is not affected by variations in prevailing climatic conditions. The rate of diffusion of moisture from the inner layers to the surface is faster in kiln seasoning, though this does not cause increased degrade. In kiln seasoning, the relative humidity and circulation of air cab be controlled. In spite of the higher temperatures and faster rates of drying, the surfaces moisture content can be controlled in kiln seasoning. The relatively higher temperatures used in kiln seasoning kills insect pests and pathogens, thus achieving conditions of partial sterility. It is possible to dry wood to any moisture content through kiln seasoning.

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BASIC FEATURES OF KILNS The basic features of wood seasoning kilns have been discussed below     Kiln constructional material Modes of heating Humidification Air circulation .

Kiln constructional material The materials used for the construction of kilns differ widely.1. They may include:  Brick masonry     Hollow cement concrete slabs Hollow tiles Sheet metal Toughened glass .

Modes of heating Various methods of heating which can be used are:  Indirect heat generated by flue gases from a furnace fired by oil or wood waste Direct heat from combustion of oil from a furnace Saturated steam Solar heat      Mineral oil Electricity .2.

Humidification  Relative humidity inside the kiln can be partially controlled by adjusting the inlets and outlets of air.3. this is not enough to ensure that the timber of refractory species does not crack.   However. In this way. a part of the moisture that has evaporated from the green wood can be retained in the kiln. .

furnace or mineral oil has to be artificially humidified for preventing cracking. This may be done with the help of low pressure steam or even sprays of hot water under controlled conditions. both heating and humidification is done with steam. The air inside a kiln heated by electricity. .   In steam heated kilns.

these are known as external blower kiln and internal fan kiln respectively. Accordingly.4. Forced circulation: In this method.  . the air is circulated by fans or blowers that may be installed either outside or inside the kiln chamber. Air circulation  Circulation of air in kilns can be brought about by any one of the following methods.

 Thermal or natural circulation: In this method. air circulation is achieved by convection currents that are produced by heating pipes or ducts that may be located below the stack. .

Compartment kilns . Progressive kilns 2.CLASSIFICATION OF KILNS  On basis of their construction and method of construction wood seasoning kilns may be classed into the following two broad groups: 1.

  . On the other hand the air towards the side where the seasoned wood is unloaded is warm and dry. The wood to be seasoned is stacked onto trolleys that are moved at a specific speed from one end to the other in order to sustain continuous process. The air at the end from which green timber is being moved into the tunnel is cool and humid. Progressive kilns  They are in the form of long tunnels in which the progressive drying conditions of the schedule are controlled along the length.1.

This end is also the unloading or dry end. As each stack moves. it is held under each set of progressively increasing conditions till it is seasoned and reaches the end of the tunnel or kiln. They are expensive to erect and maintain and are not usually used in India.  .  These kilns are suited for conditions where a considerable quantity of timber is to be seasoned on a regular basis and timber of the same species and dimensions are to handled.

2.  The drying conditions are uniform within the kiln. though they may be varied as required from time to time and also on basis of the species and dimensions of the material being seasoned.  . Compartment kilns   They are relatively smaller in dimensions. There is more flexibility over the seasoning process and hence these kilns are better for Indian conditions. The wood being seasoned remains stationary in the kilns.

Kiln samples are chosen on basis of the following:  The samples are chosen from the thickest. drying schedule and to gauge the degree to which the timber has been seasoned. some samples may also be taken from the driest and fastest drying wood. .  In case the wood to be seasoned is of mixed nature. wettest and slowest drying stock in the kiln charge.KILN SAMPLES Kiln samples are required for making various measurements: to plan the level of seasoning required.

.    Together with this. A kiln sample having a length of about 75 cms is cut from a distance from about 45 cms from one end of the plank or scantling or from its centre. The kiln samples should be free from knots and other natural defects. This is known as the moisture sample. It is preferable to draw the sample from the heartwood which is slow drying instead of the sapwood. another cross section of about 12 to 20 mm along the grain is also cut from both the ends of the sample.

   Dry and wet bulb temperatures of the air that enters the kiln. Weights and calculations that may be made during the preparation of the kiln sample. Periodic weighing and moisture content data of the kiln samples for showing the progress in drying.   .RECORDS OF KILN SEASONING The following records of the seasoning being done in a particular kiln. Results of the check test that may be done. Any stoppages of the working parts of the kiln that may occur.

5 cms thick planks for different categories of timbers.KILN DRYING SCHEDULES These schedules are for 2. constructional work or for certain special items      Schedule VI : Heavy planking timbers Schedule VII : Some highly refractory timbers .   Schedule I : Woods for packing case manufacture Schedule II : Timbers commonly used for cheap planking or moderately heavy type of packing cases Schedule III : Light furniture woods Schedule IV : Common furniture woods Schedule V : Timbers commonly used for making furniture.

Wood waste fired furnace kilns 5. side mounted internal fan kilns       6.Types of kilns  1. Steam heated. FRI solar kilns . reversible air circulation kilns 2. End mounted fan kilns 4. Side mounted internal fan kilns 3. overhead internal fan. Dehumidification kilns 7. Electrically heated.

The standard size of a kiln has internal dimensions of 6. Steam heated. It is possible to maintain temperatures of up to 75 degrees C and humidity of almost 100 percent.6 mts with a stacking capacity of about 14 cu.1.1x3. overhead internal fan.35x4. reversible air circulation kilns  They can be used for seasoning all types of woods and also for drying veneers and conditioning plywood.   .mts of 2.5 cms thick planks per charge.

The roof is provided with chimneys for venting moist air while there are air ducts at ground level for taking in the required quantity of fresh air.   . The wood to be seasoned is placed below the false ceiling. This chamber has coils for the circulation of steam. A false ceiling is provided above which fans and heating equipment is fitted.

   . coal or coal wood waste fired. For seasoning the wood. There is a boiler for producing steam which may be fired by oil. The pressure and amount of steam admitted to the heating coils aid in controlling temperature and relative humidity. A smaller version of this kiln may also be constructed. heated and humidified air is circulated through the stack with the help of overhead reversible propeller fans.

  Popes with nozzles are fitted for humidification and maintaining temperatures. . The level of the fans is such that their centers are at about one fourth of the height of the stack from ground level. Side mounted internal fan kilns  In this kiln the fans are installed either at the floor level or in the sides of the kiln. Vertical partitions may be erected.2.

Side mounted internal fan kilns .

d) Air is sucked out by the fans from the lower half of the stack.  . c) This kilns uses hot water heating (involving hot water at about 90 degrees C) for heating instead of steam. Humidification is also done by spraying hot water through nozzles. heated and then led by means of curved baffles so as to cross the upper portion of the stack in the reverse direction over to the opposite side for recirculation.

This eliminates the need for a costly and cumbersome structure for the fans.  . End mounted fan kilns  This kiln is of a relatively smaller size and length with the single fan mounted at the end of the stack. There is a wire mesh screen located between the stack and the plenum air. The efficiency of this kiln is higher than that of others as its internal surface is reduced by as much as a fourth due to the absence of a complicated structure for fans.3. This helps the static pressure or air to build up before it enters the stack.   There is a single fan that is located on pedestals standing on the floor. as may be required for some other types of kiln.

Heat is generated from furnaces fires by wood waste. These kilns may be of the following two types.4.     Poorer temperature control Absence of an efficient humidification system. Wood waste fired furnace kilns  Wood waste fired furnace kilns are used on a limited basis. a) Indirectly heated internal fan furnace kiln b) Indirectly heated thermal circulation furnace kiln .

iii) This kiln is suited for rapid seasoning of timbers used for packing cases and not for seasoning heavier hardwoods.a) Indirectly heated internal fan furnace kiln:  i) There is arrangement for sucking the hot gases from the furnace through pipes or ducts made of sheet iron that are fitted inside the drying chamber.  ii) The fans fitted inside the kiln circulate the indirectly the indirectly heated air of the kiln.  .

iv) This type of kiln is suited for the drying timbers that are prone to cracking.b) Indirectly heated thermal circulation furnace kiln:  i) Flue heated ducts made of sheet iron are fitted inside the drying chamber below the stack of timber that is being seasoned. These are installed between the heated ducts and the bottom of the stack. ii) The indirectly heated air of the kiln rises through the seasoning stack and then it is led out through chimneys in the roof. v) Humidity of about 75% is created with the help of perforated trays containing sand over which water is allowed to percolate. iii) Adequate provision is also made for the intake of fresh air.     .

Electrically heated.5. they are not very widely used. these kilns are useful where timber is required to be seasoned in a small quality for specialized use. though being expensive. Adequate provisions can be made for automatic control of temperatures. Another limitation is that steam has. The cost of seasoning can be reduced if the timber is partially steam dried and then seasoned in electrically heated kilns.       . side mounted internal fan kilns  These kilns use electricity for heating. The salient features of these kilns are: Electricity is the main source of heat. in any case to be generated for controlling relative humidity. Nevertheless. Heated air is allowed to circulate in the kiln and then led out.

Electrical heaters provided for this purpose are used for heating the room and the timber which is stacked in it. The evaporator and condenser sections of a refrigerator are placed in this room or chamber. Dehumidification kilns  The seasoning chamber comprises of a heavily insulated room which has been carefully sealed and fitted with fans for re circulating air.   .6. The hot air is circulated with the help of fans.

there is provision for adding even the heat generated by moving parts of the compressor and fans to the kiln. a part of which is continuously sucked through the dehumidifier. In this way the air is dehumidified without loss of latent heat of the moisture vapour which is normally vented out in conventional kilns. As a result the air is cooled and water vapour condensed. The condensate is drained out of the kiln. The green timber generates warm and moist air. The dehumidification kilns are energy efficient means of seasoning wood. Sensible and latent heat from this warm and moist air is absorbed by the liquefied refrigerant in the evaporator. In these kilns.      .

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FRI solar kilns  Also known as the FRI solar heated kilns. east and west walls with 5mm thick clear transparent glass on the outside and 0.7. these are the most popular and widely used kilns in India.   . there is a 40 mm wide air gap. double sheathed on the south. They have been designed and evolved after decades of studies at the Forest Research Institute. Dehradun. In between the glasses. The super structure consists of a timber or metal frame.40 mm thick glass on the inside.

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A horizontal false ceiling comprising of a V-corrugated blackened galvanized iron sheet(G) which functions as a solar absorber. The north facing wall is covered with plywood of adequate thickness.    . This oriented is suited for most parts of India.9 times the latitude for the absorption of maximum energy all round the year. The timber stack is placed below this false ceiling for seasoning. Its roof has a tilt towards south at an angle with the horizontal which equals 0. The orientation of the kiln is East-West along its axis.

These also help in controlling the relative humidity insider the kiln.    . The air is re circulated and the heat is continuously scrubbed by the passing stream of air from the solar absorbing false ceiling. The fans are used for maintaining air circulation in the stack. Two electric propeller fans are mounted as floor level in a vertical partition that is erected on one side of the stack all along the entire length of the kiln and extending up to the false ceiling. The entire structure may be painted black for maximizing the absorption of solar energy. Vents have been provided at the bottom of the north and south walls for partial venting and control of fresh air intake. It is supplied to the stack for seasoning to take place.

the temperature inside the kiln rises and this seasons the timber which has been stacked in it.Functioning of solar kilns   This kilns functions on the glass house principle. The long wave infra-red radiation emitted by the absorber is not allowed to pass out of the kiln. The sheathing functions as a trap for the incoming solar energy. In this way. Short wave solar radiation is transmitted by the transparent sheathing into the kiln which is absorbed by the blackened solar absorber.   .

It takes about 15 to 20 days for seasoning timber of average dimensions and moisture content in this kiln. Several modifications have been made in this design to suit specific conditions. This is helpful in seasoning refractory hardwoods which may split and crack otherwise. The fans provided in the kiln help in re circulating the air and maintaining the relative humidity at optimum levels.  .   A water spray of the spinning disc types may be provided to give a floating mist of very fine drops of water that does not wet either the timber stack or the floor of the kiln.

the rate of increase is very gradual. no matter how high the temperature may rise. it usually does not increase more that about 60 degrees C and in any case.   However. The temperatures in a solar kiln gradually rise as the day progresses and may reach their maximum between 2 to 4 pm. When a freshly loaded charge is put into the kiln. . the temperatures may not rise to very high levels. but as the timber dries the rise of temperature becomes much more.

Advantages of solar kilns      They are easy to fabricate and operate. the solar dried timber is less liable to cracking and splitting than air seasoning and less affected by collapse and warping than conventional steam kiln seasoning.  . Ideally suited for small and medium scale timber processing industries The cost of seasoning is very less as compared to other kilns. These kilns can be readily erected even in remote and far flung areas. As lower temperatures are involved in the seasoning process. The energy required for seasoning timber is much less than other kilns are very cheap.

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