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Spalters Inc. #6: determining the temperature of destruction of xylindein

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Blog entry by Sodabowski posted 1000 days ago 4346 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Second attempt preliminary results: win Part 6 of Spalters Inc. series Part 7: First (preliminary) determination of decay temperature of Xylindein »

Hey guyzz,

So little time these days with all the work at the university. But I finally settled for a while to build a wooden clamp for test tubes to make a first measurement of the temperature at which xylindein, the pigment produced by Chlorociboriae, permanently loses its color.

As you all know, sanding wood leads to quite high temperatures at the surface, and I had previously noticed that xylindein was destroyed when bandsawing stained wood with a freakin’ dull blade from hell. As I couldn’t find any reference to said temperature, well I will figure it out myself. This will be a first crappy measure just to check the temperature range (which I expect to be in the 50-300°C at least).

Why bother? Well, as I already said, sanding or sawing xylindein-stained wood can lead to its permanent discoloration, which sucks.

So the first step to actually measure that destroying temp, is to have a test tube securely clamped in an insulating material to be able to gradually increase its temperature while monitoring the color. Then make a chart of the measurements, graph the heck of it, and determine the decaying function blablabla, to finally get the number of the beast. For now, here is building a test tube wooden clamp with a scrap of palletwood (pine actually) with the detail pictures.

And uh, I can’t resist the envy to also post it for Martin’s latest contest :D

Cheers!

-- Holy scrap Barkman!



19 comments so far

View llwynog's profile

llwynog

282 posts in 1175 days


#1 posted 1000 days ago

Interesting.
How do you intend to measure the color ?
A spectrophotometer would be the most accurate but for this kind of job, I guess that a digital camera set to manual and the eyedrop tool in Photoshop/gimp could be enough. I assume that you will throw in a thermocouple in your test tube to monitor the temperature.

Looking forward to your next posts.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1429 days


#2 posted 1000 days ago

You got it Fabrice, pictures with the camera (like when I did that Zeeman effect work last february), and then some software that I just made for the purpose. Crop to get the sample and the reading from the thermometer (two seperate files extracted from each picture), import all in dedicated software, extract the RGB values and convert them into HSV to get the hue, and plot the data: temperature VS hue, and estimate the actual transition temperature when the hue drops suddenly from green to brown.

I made a first set of measures this afternoon that was quick & dirty to assess the variation range, and just finished a second set, made with more attention and with a shot every degree celsius or so.
The final measurement will be done at the university with good instruments though.

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View llwynog's profile

llwynog

282 posts in 1175 days


#3 posted 1000 days ago

I see.

If you want to do it with even more panache, you can search online for the lcms library (exists in dll form and various bindings for python or other languages).
With this library and 2 simple function calls, you can compute the L*a*b* values obtained from your RGB data and the standard sRGB colorspace profile. Once you get the 2 L*a*b* values, the Euclidian distance will give you a color difference which is extremely representative of how the human eye assesses color differences (much more so than the HLS model you are intending to use, especially if you use only the Hue).

Obviously, this is completely overkill but when did that ever stopped anyone ?

If you don’t want to get dragged down the dark side of the force, you can disregard all the above ;)

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1429 days


#4 posted 1000 days ago

Dude, I’m definately going to give that a shot! :D

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View llwynog's profile

llwynog

282 posts in 1175 days


#5 posted 1000 days ago

Somehow, I knew it would appeal to you ;)

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View patron's profile (online now)

patron

12955 posts in 1938 days


#6 posted 1000 days ago

send it to NCIS ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1429 days


#7 posted 1000 days ago

@David: nah, I’m a “do it yourself” kinda guy ;)

@Fabrice: didn’t even need to, the RGB spectrum has a huge fall in its red component when the xylindin deteriorates.

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View mafe's profile

mafe

9435 posts in 1686 days


#8 posted 999 days ago

Thomas, your saw is not as sweet as mine… probably because mine was a gift from you!
You are my favorite lumber scientist.
Best thoughts, hope you are better than fine,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1867 days


#9 posted 999 days ago

I love doing the “mad scientist” thing. It is something I was born with….I like to know the underlying reasons why things do what they do. I used to take my toys apart as a kid….used to really tick off my parents. They didn’t get over this until I learned how to reassemble them…lol.

I would love to see what data you learned from this? It might help to determine the optimal temperature to spalt wood….as it also determines what temperature that stops the process? Thanks for sharing this with us….and good luck in the contest!

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1429 days


#10 posted 999 days ago

Well almost all fungi die above 50°C. Above 75°C you won’t have many left. Above 100°C you would be in danger. The best temp range for fungi to actually grow is well known, it’s 20-22°C, up to 26 for some of them. In fact, it depends on the species. On the other hand, most spalting fungi build melatonin barriers, which doesn’t suffer from high temperatures. With the delicate xylindein stain, it’s a whole different matter. Hence this study ;)

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View mafe's profile

mafe

9435 posts in 1686 days


#11 posted 999 days ago

So you have to find a way to ‘freeze’ the fungi so it can stand the heat…
Smiles,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1867 days


#12 posted 998 days ago

Cool information….I was thinking in the line of the different colors that different species stain the wood….I had some of the most spectacular purple streaks in a piece of maple….I wanted it to work on some other wood I had so I scraped some of the wood fibre from the maple into some wood I had dampened for spalting. The spores didn’t take ;( and I had killed the other spores when I planed and sawed the other spalted board. The only reason I could see that those spores didn’t take was either the temperature in the spot I had the spalting pile (a covered horse stall) – the spalting had been living in my wood when I got it….and survived until I messed with it…anyway…to make a very long story shorter….it would be very interesting to know which spalting bacteria lives at what states so to give the most vibrant colors to specific wood species….I’m sure the info exists but I have not found an easy location for it.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1429 days


#13 posted 994 days ago

In my last comment, replace “melatonin” with “melanin”, I always mix these two up… as well as “xylindein” in english and “xylindine” in french. Anyway…

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View lefay's profile

lefay

2 posts in 961 days


#14 posted 960 days ago

Xylindein is soluble in alcohol, or hot water. When you apply alcohol-base lacquer, in microscopic pics, the pigment is dispersed onto wood cells , not sure how affects the pigment discoloration in UV light on long term, but I’m loosing the depth of the wood texture, it looks like is artificially stained.

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2001 posts in 1429 days


#15 posted 960 days ago

Are you talking about the sawdust being dragged out by alcohol? I tried several times to extract xylindein with alcohol (pure ethanol) and it never worked. Hot water didn’t work either but I used a neutral solution (don’t have my chemicals here, NaOH was used by the japanese team that tested xylindein for toxicity).

Acetone, on the other hand, works instantly. Here is the exact color of xylindein (the picture has been color-corrected to ensure the exact color on every display):

Now if you succeeded in extracting xylindein with alcoohol or hot water, how did you exactly do it?

I will bring a sample to the lab at my university to get the actual spectrum of xylindein, when time permits. The dominant blue is strong, the green in the wood comes from a secondary pigment (probably a xylindein quinone, recent research on the matter will soon be published by the experts of the field). It seems that the yellow pigment takes a far higher temperature to vanish, actually greater than what the wood itself can whithstand. I didn’t succeed in extracting the yellow pigment yet, but I managed to have it produced in vitro by live specimens of Chlorociboria.

Next semester I will also try a new determination of the exact shape of the xylindein molecule by AFM means (although there already exists a chemical model of the molecule, as I will have access to an AFM, why the heck not try!)

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

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