Sioo:x is the developer of a wood protection system based on silicate technology; a silica network penetrates the surface and provides a water-proof barrier within the wood structure. The technology, inspired by the natural process leading to petrified wood, results in a long-life surface without environmental hazards.
”Our technology is inspired by nature’s own way of using silicate for protection. Trees and plants absorb water containing silicic acid from the ground. This process provides vitality to aspen in our forests and to teaktrees in the rainforest, and silicates are also the reason why thatch and straw are strict and rigid”, says Herje Boström, CEO of Sioo:x.
”Silicic acid has conserving and protecting properties. Maybe you have heard about the petrified forests that exist around the world? Such silicated trees are able to withstand the forces of nature for a very long time”.
A barrier of silicon crystals
”Wood is an amazing material that can be shaped in many different ways. Properly used and protected, it lasts indefinitely. Silicate technology to protect and preserve wood was developed in Germany in the 19th century; old methods can be surprisingly efficient, and we spent a couple of years exploring various wood conservation techniques. We refined the technology and devised our own silicate formula, entirely free of harmful substances. The formula is protected by patents, and forms the basis of our wood protection system. It has found widespread use in applications such as decking, terracing, and cladding. The surface develops a pleasing silver-grey nuance”, Herje Boström says.
”While the old method relied on large silicate molecules, the ones we use are smaller. We have also substituted sodium as a helping agent, for potassium. The advantage of our solution is that it quickly penetrates the wood and combines with it. Layers of silicate crystals grow deep in the wood, providing a barrier and a resistive protection against fungus, vermin and microorganisms trying to gain a hold”.
Traditional silicate methods use sodium silicate in aqueous solution (also known as waterglass or liquid glass). But waterglass cures too fast when it is applied to a wood surface, according to Sioo:x, and the sodium silicate forms a gel structure resting on the wood surface instead of integrating with it.
”We decided against sodium silicate because it results in a rigid mineral coating instead of a flexible envelope. Wood is a material that moves, and a rigid coating is bound to crack and expose the underlying wood to microorganisms. In our experience, coating the surface results in a shorter life than the silicic acid and potassium treatment we have developed”, Herje says.
A new generation of products
”When we had arrived at a silicate formula that worked, we started to introduce it little by little. I first applied it to my neighbours’ and friends’ deckings. They were happy with the beautiful, bright, lustrous finish and liked that the barrier developed within the wood, leaving a smooth, clean surface. The fact that the product is safe and environmentally friendly was important to many. I then travelled around for years in my car, promoting and demonstrating the product at various exhibitions. The performance and appearance gradually attracted interest from architects, constructors and coating companies. It is becoming widely acknowledged that Sioo:x offer a sustainable solution to a well-known problem in the wood industry, and we are in the midst of a rapid international expansion”.
”We are now introducing the second generation of our wood protection system, with an impregnation that penetrates the wood even better. The silicon dioxide penetrates deeper and in larger amounts, and the attachment to the wood is stronger. This results in an improved and longer lasting protection. It can be used on all types of wood. The surface is drier, while remaining diffusion-open and able to breathe; the surface protection stays clean longer, gives better protection and is more durable”, Herje Boström says.
The article was published in May 2016.