**Predicting effects of selected impregnation processes on the observed bending strength of wood, with use of data mining models**,"

*BioResources*16(3), 4891-4904.

#### Abstract

Wood materials have been used in many products such as furniture, stairs, windows, and doors for centuries. There are differences in methods used to adapt wood to ambient conditions. Impregnation is a widely used method of wood preservation. In terms of efficiency, it is critical to optimize the parameters for impregnation. Data mining techniques reduce most of the cost and operational challenges with accurate prediction in the wood industry. In this study, three data-mining algorithms were applied to predict bending strength in impregnated wood materials (*Pinus sylvestris* L. and *Millettia laurentii*). Models were created from real experimental data to examine the relationship between bending strength, diffusion time, vacuum duration, and wood type, based on decision trees (DT), random forest (RF), and Gaussian process (GP) algorithms. The highest bending strength was achieved with wenge (*Millettia laurentii*) wood in 10 bar vacuum and the diffusion condition during 25 min. The results showed that all algorithms are suitable for predicting bending strength. The goodness of fit for the testing phase was determined as 0.994, 0.986, and 0.989 in the DT, RF, and GP algorithms, respectively. Moreover, the importance of attributes was determined in the algorithms.

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#### Full Article

**Predicting Effects of Selected Impregnation Processes on the Observed Bending Strength of Wood, with Use of Data Mining Models**

Selahattin Bardak,^{a} Timucin Bardak,^{b,}* Hüseyin Peker,^{c} Eser Sözen,^{d} and Yıldız Çabuk ^{d}

Wood materials have been used in many products such as furniture, stairs, windows, and doors for centuries. There are differences in methods used to adapt wood to ambient conditions. Impregnation is a widely used method of wood preservation. In terms of efficiency, it is critical to optimize the parameters for impregnation. Data mining techniques reduce most of the cost and operational challenges with accurate prediction in the wood industry. In this study, three data-mining algorithms were applied to predict bending strength in impregnated wood materials (*Pinus sylvestris* L. and *Millettia laurentii*). Models were created from real experimental data to examine the relationship between bending strength, diffusion time, vacuum duration, and wood type, based on decision trees (DT), random forest (RF), and Gaussian process (GP) algorithms. The highest bending strength was achieved with wenge (*Millettia laurentii*) wood in 10 bar vacuum and the diffusion condition during 25 min. The results showed that all algorithms are suitable for predicting bending strength. The goodness of fit for the testing phase was determined as 0.994, 0.986, and 0.989 in the DT, RF, and GP algorithms, respectively. Moreover, the importance of attributes was determined in the algorithms.

*Keywords: Wood material; Bending strength; Mechanical properties; Data mining; Optimization*

*Contact information: a: Sinop University, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Computer Engineering, 57000, Sinop, Turkey; b: Bartin University, Bartin Vocational School, Furniture and Decoration Program, 74200, Bartin, Turkey; c: Artvin Çoruh University, Department of Forest Industry Engineering, Faculty of Forestry, 08000, Turkey; d: Bartin University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Industrial Engineering, 74200, Bartin, Turkey; *Corresponding author: timucinb@bartin.edu.tr *

**INTRODUCTION**

The chemical modification of wood has received much attention since the mid-twentieth century. Usually, chemical modification in solid wood is made for dimensional stability and biological resistance. Despite many studies in the literature, there have been only limited studies of industrial applications (Gérardin 2016). This is mainly due to the application difficulties of wood preservation processes such as acylation and the emergence of environmental, economic, and technical problems in the transition from laboratory to industry. Factors such as wood type, impregnation agent, impregnation time, temperature, vacuum, diffusion, solvent, concentration ratio, and retention ratio affect the mechanical properties of wood (Rowell 2009). Simsek *et al.* (2010) carried out mechanical and decay tests of beech wood (*Fagus orientalis* L.) and Scots pine wood (*Pinus sylvestris* L.) treated with environmentally friendly boron compounds. They reported that all the different concentrations of boron compounds applied decreased the bending strength compared with the control sample. In a similar study, Adanur *et al.* (2017) stated that different proportions of boron compounds decrease the bending resistance and increase the screw holding strength. In another study, Tan *et al.* (2017) examined static bending resistance and dynamic bending resistance properties of pine and beech wood using 1%, 3%, and 5% barite. The static bending strength values of pine and beech woods increased by 55% and 83% in 3% and 5% concentrations compared with control samples, respectively.

Technological developments necessitate interdisciplinary interaction. In the light of the available information, making new decisions and making predictions are important. Many complex real-world problems have been solved by data mining (Predic *et al.* 2018; Zhang *et al.* 2019). It is an automated analysis of data sets to expose relationships that are both understandable and useful (Hand and Mannila 2001; Wei and Watkins 2011). Data mining tasks can be classified as description or prediction. The purpose of the prediction is to find a model to estimate the values of future events (Rémy *et al.* 2018). Data mining techniques are often more powerful, flexible, and effective than statistical techniques for information discovery (Kantardzic 2011). Decision tree (DT), random forest (RF), and Gaussian process (GP) algorithms are widely used for predicting. These algorithms are easy to interpret and fast to calculate (Höppner *et al.* 2020). In data science, the DT is defined as a classification procedure. This classification algorithm recursively partitions a data set into smaller subdivisions based on a set of tests defined at each branch in the tree (Pu *et al.* 2018). RF is an ensemble method in machine learning that involves construction (growing) of multiple decision trees *via* bootstrap aggregation (Shaikhina *et al.* 2019). The RF algorithm is based on decision trees and combined with aggregation and bootstrap ideas. The RF algorithm maintains low bias on the training dataset by creating a collection of unpruned decision trees (Nadi and Moradi 2019). GP based on statistical learning theorem is a machine learning method. It is mainly used to calculate the covariance between the data points used in the model. It is suitable for high dimensional complex regression problems (Zhang *et al.* 2019).

Data analysis techniques provide useful information in wood science. It is important to understand how production components affect each other to solve problems in the wood industry. Very little research has been done on the prediction of the mechanical performance of wood materials. Tiryaki and Hamzacebi (2014) studied the bending strength of the heat-treated wood as predicted by artificial neural networks (ANNs), which successfully predicted bending resistance. Atoyebi *et al.* (2018) used ANNs to examine the physical and mechanical properties of particleboards and the impact of various factors on production. The study showed that ANNs have great potential in predicting the mechanical properties of particleboards.

In this paper, the RF, GP, and DT models were created to estimate the bending strength of impregnated wood. The relationships between wood type, vacuum time, and diffusion time were examined with these models.

**EXPERIMENTAL**

**Material and Method**

*Material*

Imported Scots pine and wenge logs were used. First, the logs were cut into battens. The cut slats were cut radially, and all samples were obtained from sapwood. Barite (BaSO_{4}) was obtained from Gülmer Mining (Bilecik, Turkey) in powder form. Scots pine is native and coniferous wenge is foreign and leafy tree species. The reason for choosing these tree species was to be able to compare the leafy and coniferous and native and foreign tree species.

**Preparation of Impregnation Solution**

The impregnation solution was prepared with 1% barite on a heated magnetic stirrer. The solution was prepared at 220 °C for 30 min and allowed to stand at room temperature (25 °C) for 24 h.

**Impregnation Method**

Impregnation was carried out as described in ASTM D 1413 (1976). Before the impregnation, all samples were coded and weighed with a 0.01 mm precision analytical balance. The samples were oven-dried at 103 ± 2 °C. Fully dry samples were impregnated with four different vacuum times (10, 20, 30, 40 min) and pressurization times (diffusion) (25, 35, 45, 55 min) in the impregnation boiler. Since vacuum and diffusion time are important variables that affect the impregnation of wood species, these two parameters were especially chosen. Another reason for choosing these parameters is to determine the effect of different vacuum and diffusion times on the bending strength. Impregnation conditions were carried out according to Taghiyari *et al.* (2013); 600 mm-Hg vacuum was applied as a pressure of 0.6 MPa. A total of 320 samples were prepared, including two tree species (2), different vacuum times (4), diffusion times (4), and 10 samples for each variation (2 x 4 x4 x5 = 160).

**Bending Strength**

Wood test samples and bending tests were prepared according to TS 2470 (1976) and TS 2474 (1976), respectively. Five samples were prepared from each variation from two different tree species, four different vacuum times, four different diffusion times, for a total of 160 (5 x2 x4 xx4) samples subjected to static bending resistance.

**Data Collection**

The experimental data used in this study were the measurements obtained by the bending tests of the wood material impregnated under different conditions. The data set consisted of 160 records. There were three attributes (wood type, vacuum time, and diffusion time) that feature in mechanical property prediction and one attribute serves as the output (bending strength). Table 1 contains a summary of the values of the numeric attributes from the training data set.

**Models**

Three algorithm models were selected to prediction bending strength of impregnated wood: decision trees (DT), random forest (RF), and Gaussian process (GP). These models were based on establishing the relationship between independent and dependent variables using training methods. In this study, 70% of all data were used for training and 30% for testing purposes. All models were developed with RapidMiner Studio Version 9.3 software (Boston, USA), which has been used in many studies (Phark *et al.* 2018; Cuesta *et al.* 2019). RapidMiner Studio consists of operators and each operator has a task. Operators are added end-to-end to prepare the process workflow. Several parameters have to be set when using algorithms as predictive modelling in this software. To find the best parameters, the optimize parameters (Grid) operator was used. Thus, the best parameters were determined for each model separately as shown in Fig. 1; the optimal parameters for all models are listed in Table 2.

**Fig. 1.** The process workflow used to optimize the parameters of the models

After determining the optimal parameters, the process was created to compare the models. Figure 2 shows the process workflow used to compare models.

**Fig. 2. **The process workflow used to compare models

Simulations were created based on the models. The aim was to find the input values for the highest bending strength. Rapidminer software allows for preparing real-time simulations. Figure 3 shows the process workflow prepared for simulation.

**Fig. 3.** The process workflow prepared for simulation

Finally, weights of attributes (wood type, vacuum time, and diffusion time) were determined with DT and RF algorithms. Thus, the most important feature for the prediction was found.

**Model Evaluation**

Goodness of fit (R^{2}), root mean square error (RMSE), and mean square error (MSE) were used to evaluate the estimation accuracy of each model, as follows,

(1)

(2)

MSE = RMSE^{2 } (3)

where *Y _{O}* and

*Y*are the measured and predicted values, respectively, and the bar denotes the mean of the variable.

_{P}**RESULTS AND DISCUSSION**

**Mechanical Properties**

Wood type, vacuum time, and diffusion time affected the bending strength of impregnated wood material. Table 3 presents the bending strength depending on changes in the wood type, vacuum time, and diffusion time. Increasing vacuum and diffusion times caused decreases in bending strength of both Scots pine and wenge wood. Under the same conditions, the bending strength of wenge wood gave higher values than Scots pine.

**Results of the Models**

Three machine learning models were established using the experimental data. All models were trained and tested with the same data sets, and the predictive performance of models were compared. The estimated results of the three data mining models tested for wenge and Scots pine wood are given in Tables 4 and 5, respectively. For wenge wood, percentages of correct predictions were found as 99.55%, 99.37% and 99.38% for decision tree, random forests, and Gaussian process models, respectively. For Scots pine wood, percentages of correct predictions were found as 99.49%, 99.38%, and 99.46% for decision tree, random forests, and Gaussian process models, respectively.

Three different assessment criteria were used to evaluate all estimation models (DT, RF, GP). In the classification problem, these performance measures are widely used (Caballero *et al.* 2017; Shafaei *et al.* 2019). Various performance measures related to the DT, RF, and GS models are shown in Table 6.

MSE and RMSE are measures of error each. Therefore, low results are measures showing high performance in inverse proportion to performance (Wang and Xu 2004; Gultepe 2019).