Eucalyptus grandis is South Africa‘s most important commercial hardwood species. The availability of E. grandis and its fast growth rate creates the opportunity to explore its uses further. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a prefabricated multilayer engineered panel product made of at least three layers, with the grain direction of some or all of the consecutive layers orthogonally orientated. In order to add value to E. grandis, reduce the export of low-cost chips, increase the profit margins of local plantation owners and create jobs, the development of E. grandis CLT in South Africa may be an option. There is concern among some researchers that the bonding quality evaluation tests proposed by CLT standards have been developed for glulam and are too severe for CLT. These researchers proposed that further analysis and possibly even revision of the test methods should be considered. There is also a need to evaluate the mechanical properties of CLT panels made of E. grandis to completely understand the structural performance of these panels, including their bond quality and durability, and therefore be able to rely on E. grandis CLT as a construction material. The objectives of this study were: . To evaluate the face-bonding quality of CLT panels from E. grandis timber bonded with a one component polyurethane resin; . To determine the influence of material and processing parameters on the face-bonding quality of CLT manufactured from E. grandis timber bonded with a one component polyurethane resin; . To analyse different testing methods for evaluating the face-bonding quality of CLT. The design for this experiment consisted of eight groups with different combinations of parameters for density, grooves and pressure per group. Four different testing methods were used to evaluate the face-bonding quality of CLT panels from E. grandis and to determine the effect of parameters on face-bonding quality: A delamination test on 100 x 100 mm block specimens (Test A), a shear test on 40 x 40 mm specimens (Test B), a shear test on 40 x 40 mm specimens with grain direction 45° to load direction (Test C) and a combined delamination and shear test on 70 x 70 mm specimens with grain direction 45° to load direction (Test D). Results of the statistical analysis indicated that E. grandis CLT made with 1C-PUR adhesive can obtain excellent face-bonding quality using a clamping pressure of 0.7 MPa and with no stress relief grooves present. All samples passed the shear test (Test B) which is the reference test method proposed by EN 16351 (2015). It was found that a strength component and durability component will be an advantage when testing the bond quality of CLT. Shear tests at 45° to the load direction did not completely eliminate the rolling shear effect. The combined delamination and shear test (Test D), seems to have potential as a good test for bond quality since it is a combination of a durability and shear strength test. There are still questions about the relative advantages of specific test methods for bond quality, especially on the effect of rolling shear. Further work should focus on this aspect and the use of stress models might be a way of gaining further insights.
Air leaks have a considerable impact on the energy load and durability of buildings, particularly in cold climates. In wood construction using cross-laminated timber (CLT), air leaks are most likely to be concentrated at the joints between panels and other elements. This study used simulations of heat, air, and moisture transfers through a gap between two CLT panels causing air leakage in winter conditions under a cold climate. A real leakage occurrence was sized to validate the simulations. The aim of this work was to assess the impact on the energy loads and the durability of an air leak, as either infiltration or exfiltration, for different gap widths and relative humidity levels. The results showed that infiltrations had a greater impact on the energy load than exfiltrations but did not pose a threat to the durability, as opposed to exfiltrations. Gap sizes in CLT may vary, but the effect on the energy load was sensitive to the leakage path in the rest of the wall. As expected, a combination of winter exfiltration and a high level of interior relative humidity was particularly detrimental.