The Heat is On: Tension Testing Thermally Modified Engineered Wood Products

The Forest Products Laboratory’s (FPL) Engineering Mechanics and Remote Sensing Laboratory is home to an array of testing equipment with a wide range of capabilities.dwight_test_setup

Recently, tension testing has been under way. In this testing, specimens are pulled from opposite ends while researchers evaluate what happens to the material under such stress and eventually find out just how much it can take before failing.

Technicians are currently evaluating the effects of heat treatment on wood composite materials. The goal of this research, led by FPL researcher Xiping Wang, is to determine how tension parallel to the grain properties of laminated veneer lumber and laminated strand lumber members are affected by thermal modification.

Thermally modified wood is currently used primarily for solid wood flooring, external cladding, and decking products. This project will break the barrier from these limited applications and advance the platform toward new, high-volume, and in-demand engineered wood products markets. These markets are poised to grow quickly in the near future when the demand for engineered wood products increases with the rebound in U.S. residential and commercial construction.

The University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute is a cooperator on this project.

FPL technician Dwight McDonald performs a tension test.

FPL technician Dwight McDonald performs a tension test.