To explore the feasibility of hem-fir for CLT products, this work addressed the exploratory
and pilot plant studies of hem-fir cross-laminated timber (CLT) products through mechanical
tests. The hem-fir lumber was procured and then stress-graded based on dynamic modulus of
elasticity (MOE). The resulted 5-ply prototype CLT products were then tested non-destructively
and 3-ply pilot plant hem-fir CLT was tested destructively. The results showed that bending
performance of hem-fir CLT panel can be predicted. Considering cost-competitiveness and
end applications of hem-fir CLT products, the panel structure can be optimized based on the
stress-graded data of hem-fir lumber.
To better use the second-growth wood resources in value-added applications, this work addressed the manufacturing aspects of cross-laminated timber (CLT) products from western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg) and amabilis fir (Abies amabilis (Dougl.) Forbes) (or hem-fir) harvested from coastal British Columbia, Canada. Small CLT billets (nominal 610 mm×610 mm) were made to examine CLT bond quality and durability through block shear and delamination tests. Two types of adhesives, single-component polyurethane (PUR) and emulsion polymer isocyanate (EPI) and two critical applied pressure parameters (0.28 and 0.83 MPa) were adopted to manufacture hem-fir CLT. It was found that the adhesive type and applied pressure significantly affected wood failure percentage (WFP) and delamination of hem-fir CLT. When PUR adhesive was used, CLT made at 0.83 MPa pressure yielded significantly higher WFP and lower delamination than that made at 0.28 MPa pressure. The results demonstrated that despite the fact that hem-fir lumber is not particularly specified in the current North American CLT standard, it could be used for manufacturing CLT with the required panel bond quality.
Wood is a highly versatile renewable material (with carbon sequestering properties), that is light in weight, has good strength properties in both tension and compression while providing good rigidity and toughness, and good insulating properties (relative to typical structural materials). Engineered wood products combine the benefits of wood with engineering knowledge to create optimized structural elements. Cross-laminated timber (CLT), as one such engineered wood product, is an emerging engineering material which provides great opportunities for the building industry. While building with wood has many benefits, there are also some concerns, particularly decay. Should wood be exposed to elevated amounts of moisture, rots and moulds may damage the product or even risk the health of the occupants. As CLT panels are a relatively new engineered wood product, the moisture characteristics have yet to be properly assessed.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) may require preservative treatment in markets with severe termite hazards. Given the size of CLT panels, conventional pressure treatment would not be feasible. We therefore assessed the treatability of CLT panels with an alternative low moisture uptake surface-applied penetrating process for applying termiticides. Hem-fir panels were selected for the initial tests on the grounds that western hemlock and amabilis fir are relatively treatable. Nine test panels were dip treated and stored for 7, 14, or 21 day activation periods. Borate retention ranged from 1.2 to 6.5 kg/m3 and penetration ranged from 3 to 9 mm. Longer activation periods did not result in improved penetration. Greater penetration would likely be needed to meet performance-based standards.