The process of wood drying

The process of wood drying

The process of wood drying kiln consists basically of introducing heat. This may be directly, using natural gas and/or electricity or indirectly, through steam-heated heat exchangers, although solar energy is also possible. In the process, deliberate control of temperature, relative humidity and air circulation is provided to give conditions at various stages (moisture contents or times) of drying the timber to achieve effective drying. For this purpose, the timber is stacked in chambers, called wood drying kilns, which are fitted with equipment for manipulation and control of the temperature and the relative humidity of the drying air and its circulation rate through the timber stack.
Kiln drying provides a means of overcoming the limitations imposed by erratic weather conditions. In kiln drying as in air drying, unsaturated air is used as the drying medium. Almost all commercial timbers of the world are dried in industrial kilns. A comparison of air drying, conventional kiln and solar drying is given below:

Timber can be dried to any desired low moisture content by conventional or solar kiln drying, but in air drying, moisture contents of less than 18% are difficult to attain for most locations.
The drying times are considerably less in conventional wood drying kilns than in solar kiln drying, followed by air drying.

This means that if capital outlay is involved, this capital is just sitting there for a longer time when air drying is used. On the other hand, installing an industrial kiln, to say nothing of maintenance and operation, is expensive.

In addition, wood that is being air dried takes up space, which could also cost money.

In air drying, there is little control over the drying elements, so drying degrade cannot be controlled.

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