Engineering researchers at Deakin University have begun testing Australian-made cross-laminated timber (CLT), to ascertain the full potential of this innovative and environmentally friendly construction material.
CLT is mass-engineered timber made from layers of wood laminated together in opposing directions to create an extremely strong product. While it has been in use in Europe for several decades, Australian-made CLT is a relatively new product. Unlike in Europe, Australian CLT is made using different grades of timber lamellas.
Because of the different timber species used in CLT production around the world, research is required to verify the relative performance of Australian-made CLT, the range of building applications available and how it can be better utilised to a range of structural applications.
As part of a recently formed collaboration, XLam Australia supplied Deakin with 3.6t of CLT panels, varying in thickness from 105 to 145mm, the most commonly used in mass timber construction.
The researchers, led by Associate Professor Mahmud Ashraf from Deakin’s School of Engineering, will test and analyse the strength limits of CLT.
Prof Ashraf says the team will also explore various approaches to connecting the large-format panels to achieve robust and efficient structural solutions.
“We want to improve our understanding of the load bearing capacity of this new type of CLT to ensure it is used in the broadest range of applications in the most efficient way,” he says.
The research will add to the understanding of the way CLT panels work together as a system and provide engineers and builders with the information they need to improve construction methods.
CLT’s high strength-to-weight ratio means it can be used in long spans, allowing for simplified building structures, and the ability to supply prefabricated panels adds to the potential for cost savings.
Dr Paul Kremer, XLam’s Head of Marketing, Strategy and Sustainability, says the research at Deakin will help the industry continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.
“Supporting the work of the Deakin research team will drive innovation which we believe is a worthwhile investment,” he says. “We plan to continue our work with Deakin to support further research efforts.”