Towards Durable Wood-Strand Composite Mass Timber Panels

Primary author: Ruben Jerves
Faculty sponsor: Vikram Yadam

Primary college/unit: Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Campus: Pullman


Mass timber construction is rapidly growing in North America. This fast growth is imminent due to some features of this material. Wood has a high strength to weight ratio and lower environmental impact in contrast with other construction materials. Still, durability is a significant concern that needs to be addressed for the advancement of mass timber construction. Extreme care is required to protect members from exposure to high moisture environments while ensuring long-term durability. This project thus researches improvements of wood’s longevity by approaching two main issues associated with this: dimensional stability and decay resistance of wood due to moisture and biological organisms. At the same time, a sustainable approach is considered while utilizing small-diameter logs, which allow the forest industry to be optimized. This improvement in durability is achieved with the fabrication of Cross Laminated Strand-Veneer-Lumber (CLSVL) out of thermally modified ponderosa pine wood strands. State-of-the-art concepts and technologies are implemented in the process and the testing of the material. Where, at a first stage of the project, the thermal treatment of the wood strands is optimized through studies on wood-water interaction, assessment of physical properties, and a series of mechanical benchmark tests. The presentation will focus on the initial results of the thermal treatment of strands and its influence on the mechanical performance, physical properties, and bonding behavior. Subsequent work will involve the manufacturing of strand-based veneer lumber and mass timber panels and a robust assessment of the product.