Aussie-made mass timber to be tested at Deakin

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Paul Kremer and Associate Professor Mahmud Ashraf with laminated wood research

A team of engineers from Deakin University have begun a new investigation into Australian-made Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), a mass engineered timber made up of layers laminated together in opposing directions to create an extremely strong product.

Led by Associate Professor Mahmud Ashraf from Deakin’s School of Engineering, the research team will test and analyse the strength limits of CLT in an effort to unlock the full potential of this innovative and environmentally friendly construction material.

Associate Professor Ashraf said the researchers would also explore ‘various approaches’ to connecting the large format panels for achieving robust and efficient structural solutions.

He said the results of the research will add to the understanding of the way CLT panels work together as a system and provide engineers and builders with information they need to improve construction methods.

“We want to improve our understanding of the load bearing capacity of this new type of CLT to ensure it is used in the broadest range of applications in the most efficient way,” Associate Professor Ashraf stated.

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CLT boasts high strength-to-weight ratio, which means it can be used in long spans, allowing for a simplified building structure and the ability to supply prefabricated panels. According to Associate Professor Ashraf, this adds to the potential for cost savings and eliminating scaffolding in the building process.

While CLT has been in use in Europe for a few decades, Australian-made CLT is a relatively new product.

Because of the difference in timber species used in CLT production around the globe, the new research will attempt to verify the relative performance of Australian-made CLT, the range of building applications available and how it can be better utilised to a range of structural applications.

As part of a recently formed collaboration, XLam Australia supplied Deakin with 3.6 tons of mass CLT panels that vary in thickness from 105mm to 145mm, the most commonly used in mass timber construction.

XLam’s Head of Marketing, Strategy and Sustainability, Dr Paul Kremer said the study at Deakin ‘will help the industry continue to push the boundaries of what is possible’.

“Supporting the work of the Deakin research team will drive innovation which we believe is a worthwhile investment,” Dr Kremer said.

“We plan to continue our work with Deakin to support further research efforts.”

Image provided