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Veneer based composite hollow utility poles manufactured from hardwood plantation thinned trees

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Gilbert, B. P., Underhill, I. D., Bailleres, H., El Hanandeh, A. and McGavin, R. L. (2014) Veneer based composite hollow utility poles manufactured from hardwood plantation thinned trees. Construction and Building Materials, 66 . pp. 458-466. ISSN 0950-0618

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2014.05.09...

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0950061814005959


Australia’s utility pole network is aging and approaching its end of life. It is estimated that 70% of the 5 million poles currently in-service nationally were installed within the 20 years following the end of World War II and require replacement or remedial maintenance. Additionally, an estimated 21,700 high-durability new poles are required each year to support the expansion of the energy network. Utility poles were traditionally cut from native forest hardwood species. However, due to agreements which progressively phase out logging of native forests around Australia, finding new sources for utility poles presents a challenge. This paper presents the development of veneer based composite hardwood hollow utility poles manufactured from mid-rotation Gympie messmate (Eucalyptus cloeziana) plantation thinned trees (also referred to as “thinning”), as an alternative to solid hardwood poles. The incentives behind the project and benefits of the proposed products are introduced in the paper. Small diameter poles, of nominal 115 mm internal diameter and 15 mm wall-thickness, were manufactured in two half-poles butt jointed together, using 9 hardwood veneers per half-pole. The poles were tested in bending and shear, and experimental test results are presented. The mechanical performance of the hollow poles is discussed and compared to hardwood poles sourced from mature trees and of similar size. Additionally, the required dimensions of the proposed hollow pole to replace actual solid poles are estimated. Results show that the proposed product represents a viable technical solution to the current shortage of utility poles. Future research and different options for improving the current concept are proposed in order to provide a more reliable and cost effective product for structural and architectural applications in general.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:Veneer based composite products Hardwood plantation thinning products Timber utility poles Hollow timber sections
Subjects:Forestry > Forestry machinery and engineering
Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Exploitation and utilization
Live Archive:19 Aug 2014 06:10
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:44

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