Sitka spruce, timber properties, reinforced timber, Cross-laminated timber
In order to increase the utilisation of Irish timber in construction and novel engineered wood products, the mechanical and physical properties of the material must be established. For timber products used for structural applications, the fundamental properties are the modulus of elasticity, bending strength, density and dimensional stability as these define the structural grade of the material. In order to develop engineering design models for applications such as reinforced timber, knowledge of the nonlinear stress-strain behaviour in compression is also required.
The paper presents the programme and results of an ongoing research project ‘Innovation in Irish Timber Usage’ which focuses on the characterisation of Sitka spruce as it is the most widely grown species in Ireland. In the past, a number of studies have been conducted to determine the properties of Irish-grown Sitka spruce. Nevertheless, due to the changes that have taken place in silvicultural practices since the publication of these studies, there is a need to determine how these properties have changed. This paper presents the data gathered from historical studies together with the results of an extensive test programme undertaken to characterise the properties of the present resource.
Moreover, the paper examines the potential use of Irish grown Sitka spruce in novel timber products. Construction applications, such as fibre-reinforced polymer reinforced timber elements and connections, and cross-laminated timber are investigated.