Strength grading of structural timber and EWP laminations of Norway spruce - Development potentials and industrial applications

University dissertation from Växjö : Linnaeus University Press

Abstract: Machine strength grading of structural timber is a sawmill process by which considerable value is added to sawn products. The principle of such grading is that the strength of a timber member is predicted on the basis of a so called indicating property (IP) which, in general, represents an averaged value of the modulus of elasticity (MOE) measured over a board length of about one meter or more.A limitation of today’s grading methods is that the accuracy of strength predictions is often rather poor, which results in a low degree of utilization as regards structural potential of sawn timber. However, it has for many years been well known to researchers that much better strength predictions can be made by using localized MOE values, determined over a very short length, as IP. Still, the determination of such values in a sawmill production environment has been technically very difficult to achieve.In the research presented in this thesis, dot laser scanning with high resolution was utilized for detection of local fibre orientation on the surfaces of timber members. Since wood is an orthotropic material with superior structural performance in the longitudinal fibre direction, information about fibre orientation was, in combination with beam theory and measured wood material properties, used to determine the bending MOE variation along boards. By application of an IP defined as the lowest MOE found along a board, more accurate strength predictions than what is obtained by common commercial grading techniques was attained.The thesis also involves flatwise wet gluing of Norway spruce side boards into laminated beams. As side boards, being cut from the outer parts of a log, have excellent structural properties it was not surprising to find that the beams had high strength and stiffness, even when laminations of sawfalling quality were used. The possibility of grading boards in a wet state by means of axial dynamic excitation was investigated with a positive result and application of simple grading rules resulted in considerable improvement of beam bending strength. Finally, bending MOE variation determined on the basis of laser scanned fibre directions was used for identification of weak sections in laminations. Elimination of such sections by means of finger jointing showed that average lamination strength of a board sample could be improved by more than 35 percent.