Development of a wood alternative treatment product for replacement of creosote in the railway sleepers industry

The ban of creosote being expected for 2018, the urge to find alternative treatment for wood is very high, especially in the railway slesepers and pole industries. Use of pelargonic acid was suggested as very efficient bio-based herbicide.

Fiche signalétique

  • Département HESB | Architecture, bois et génie civil
  • Pôle de recherche Matériaux et la technologie du bois
  • Champ de recherche Modification du bois et traitement de surface
  • Organisme de financement OFEV
  • Durée 01.06.2014 - 30.09.2016
  • Responsable du projet Thomas Volkmer
  • Direction du projet Marion Noël
  • Équipe du projet Marion Noël
    Indre Vitkeviciute
    Thomas Volkmer
  • Partenaires - secteur privé Corbat Holding
  • Partenaires - établissements de recherche, y c. BFH HESB | Architecture, bois et génie civil
  • Mots-clés impregnation, creosote, pelargonic acid, railway sleepers, wood, treatment, durability

Contexte initial

The collaboration with the pelargonic acid producer was expected to allow a wide range of modifications and specific additives development, to make the product suitable and efficient for wood protection. Durability evaluation as well as physical complete characterization of treated wood were carried out.


The objective is to evaluate the potential of pelargonic acid as wood treatment product in order to reach very long Standing durability.


Many variants have been developed and tested. However, none of them could provide sufficient durability and resistance to leaching, which is necessary for outdoors applications.


Chemical modification of pelargonic acid prior to wood treatment could be an interesting approach for future research,