AN EXPERIMENTAL AND NUMERICAL STUDY OF MOISTURE TRANSPORT AND MOISTURE-INDUCED STRAIN IN FAST-GROWN SITKA SPRUCE

Conan O’Ceallaigh, Karol Sikora, Daniel McPolin, Annette M. Harte

Abstract


The use of fast-grown timber in the manufacture of engineered wood products is increasing; however, the fast growth rate results in a low-density timber that is susceptible to significant swelling and shrinkage deformations under changing moisture content. The current study focuses on the characterisation of the moisture diffusion and swelling/shrinkage of fast-grown Sitka spruce and the prediction of the moisture-induced strain development in Sitka spruce glulam beams under variable humidity cycles. Moisture content evolution and swelling/shrinkage coefficients were measured and the longitudinal swelling/shrinkage was found to be significantly greater than for slow-grown timber. Sitka spruce glued-laminated beams were subjected to controlled relative humidity cycling for 52 weeks and the moisture distribution and moisture-induced strains were measured continuously. Coupled moisturedisplacement numerical models, incorporating the experimentally measured material parameters were developed. The effect of the glue-line was found to have an insignificant effect on moisture transport, however, the material orientation greatly influenced the predicted moisture-induced strain. Accurately
mapping the material orientation produced significantly better predictions of the experimental results over the 52-week period.

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