Wood Modification & Preservation

Scion is developing new technologies that will enable plantation-grown softwoods to be used in places and markets it has not been used before.

We specialise in developing chemical and non-chemical treatment processes to improve the durability, stiffness, hardness, water repellency, appearance and stability of wood.

Modification for new uses can also include variations of colours and improved formability of wood.

These treatments must be environmentally benign with minimal impact when wood products reach the end of their functional life.

Our key capabilities

  • Material science
  • Evaluation of wood protection systems
  • Treatment processes

Commercial developments


Acetylation is a process that modifies the chemical and physical properties of wood, making it more stable and durable. Scion has developed a patented process which enables mass production of acetylated solid timber products. This technology has global potential for the wood products industry and is now being commercialised by UK-based Titan Wood.

Heat treatment

Thermal modification involves heating timbers to 160-260° C in the absence of oxygen. This results in a permanent change in the chemical composition of wood, giving improved durability and performance.

Wood Preservation

Scion scientists are developing new generation actives and carrier systems for post-CCA era preservatives. Key projects include:

  • Boron-based biocides for outdoor, above-ground applications 
  • Heterocyclic organic fungicides
  • Protection systems for framing timber in response to “Leaky Building Syndrome”
  • Accelerated testing procedures for above ground preservative systems

Commercial opportunities

Scion collaborates with chemical companies and wood manufacturers in a variety of ways to facilitate the commercial implementation of performance-enhanced and environmentally acceptable wood products.

These include:

  • Performance evaluation of timber protection systems against borers and decay fungi
  • Development of new preservative systems 
  • Treatment services for solid wood and wood-based products
  • Chemical analysis of treated wood 
  • The development of testing protocols and industry standards

Contact: Elizabeth Dunningham