Fifteen structural composite lumber (SCL) products including laminated-veneer lumber (LVL), laminated strand lumber (LSL), oriented strand lumber (OSL), and parallel strand lumber (PSL) provided by Boise Cascade, LP, West Fraser, and Weyerhaeuser were tested for moisture-related properties in this study, also covering four reference materials: 16-mm Oriented Strand Board (OSB), 19-mm Canadian Softwood Plywood (plywood), 38-mm Douglas-fir and lodgepole pine solid wood. Water absorption, vapour permeance, vapour sorption, and dimensional stability were measured with limited replication by following relevant standards for a purpose of assisting in improving building design and construction, such as hygrothermal modelling of building envelope assemblies, design for vertical differential movement, and on-site moisture management.
To support the implementation of biomass procurement practices, a formal, rigorous, consistent, science-based biomass quality control (QC) program is needed. This program should be designed to determine customer needs, the sources of product variation, and ways of eliminating or minimizing product variation as soon as it occurs. The program should also include a well-designed QC plan and sampling protocol, statistical process control methodologies and tools, formal QC teams, and regular training.
This report describes various statistical QC tools and demonstrates those using examples of biomass moisture content data. These tools can be developed in-house or be purchased, but their integration with existing databases (e.g., LIMS) is recommended. FPInnovations experts can assist in developing customized QC programs for companies and for specific biomass products, and can train QC teams to develop and use the tools presented here.
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Continuous drying is still in its relatively early stages and mills are currently dealing with process adjustments to obtain desired throughput and quality of the final product. Field measurement carried out in 2015-16 illustrated a number of opportunities for process optimization involving each of the three main stages of current continuous kilns. Simulations of industrial continuous drying at laboratory level performed in 2016-17 were successful and allowed the evaluation of each of the drying stages to be fully characterized (lumber temperatures, drying schedule conditions of dry and wet bulb temperatures). Thus, different drying schedules provided an excellent opportunity to examine the impact of schedule conditions on drying defects, drying rates and kiln residence times.
The main objectives of the project for 2017-18 were to simulate continuous drying in laboratory conditions for different products, products mix, species and green sort groups. In addition, a detailed evaluation of potential technologies was carried out to explore the concept of dynamically adjusting speed (push rates), based on drying rates and moisture content.
Piecewise regression was used to identify the optimum push rate and suggest design modifications of continuous kilns. This method proved to be efficient in identifying potential reductions in drying time for different sorts of sprue/pine (SP) lumber without compromising the quality of the final product. Simulations also allowed identifying the push rate of 2 feet/h to satisfactorily dry green hem-fir 2-inch lumber.
Initial tests showed that mid-sort sub-alpine (moisture content below approximately 70%) could not be mixed with wet sort SP in a continuous kiln operating at push rate of 4.2 feet/hr because only 73% of the sub-alpine sort dried below 21%. Decreases in push rate will reduce the percentage of sub-alpine fir wets but will also increase the amount of over-dried lumber. Changes in kiln configuration may reduce the drying time but increase the percentage of over-dried lumber.
The results indicated that additional laboratory tests are required to develop drying schedules and temperature profiles in the main drying zone of continuous kilns, drying times and final moisture content distribution.
Interior partition walls for non-residential and high-rise residential construction are an US$8 billion market opportunity in Canada and the United States (Crespell and Poon, 2014). They represent 1.6 billion ft² (150 million m²) of wall area where wood currently has less than 10% market share. To approach this market a new system would be needed to compete against the incumbent system (wood/steel stud plus gypsum). The system would need to have an installed cost before finishing of approximately US$5 per ft² or lower. The system would also need to meet several code requirements for strength, sound transmission and fire resistance (flame spread and burn through). Crespell and Poon further concluded that to be truly transformative, the system would also need to address major trends impacting the building industry including reducing labor, reducing skilled labor, reducing onsite waste, reducing call-backs, and easily recyclable with low environmental impact. A likely market entry point for wood-based interior partition systems may be in taller and larger wood buildings.
Work described in this report investigated the fabrication, installation, acoustic and combustion properties of prototype interior partition wall designs.
Two types of non-structural prototype interior wall panels designated Type A and Type C were installed between two offices in the FPInnovations Vancouver laboratory. Wood sill plates for mounting the prototype panels were fastened to the concrete floor, sides and top of the opening between the two offices to produce a frame for mounting the test panels. Panels were fastened to the frame using dry wall screws. This same method of installation is envisioned in practice. The installation method makes it easy and fast to both install and remove the wall panels.
Acoustic tests showed the difference in ASTC rating measured between a double wall composed of Type A and Type C prototype panels compared with a double wood stud wall with gypsum board faces was approximately 6 ASTC points. A 6 point difference would be clearly noticeable. Although the results of this study are largely qualitative, they suggest that the prototype interior partition panels would have an acoustic advantage compared to stud wall designs.
In a related study summarized in this report, the combustion properties of three prototype interior panel constructions, including Types A and C evaluated in this report, indicated that any of the three types of partition constructions could be used in combustible construction in accordance with Division B of the National Building Code of Canada.
A second related study, also summarized in this report, estimated an installed cost of US$4.07 per ft² including overhead and profit for unfinished panel partitions comparable to panel construction Type C (gypsum/OSB/wood fibre insulation) as evaluated in this study. Thus, there would appear to be potential installed and finished cost advantages for the wood-based panel partitions compared to steel or wood stud walls with gypsum faces.
Other potential advantages of the prototype interior partition panels compared with the most common, currently-used systems (wood/steel stud plus gypsum) include ease and speed of installation, ease and speed of removal, design flexibility, prefabrication including pre-finishing, and easy installation of services.
Based on the positive results of these exploratory studies, further development of wood-based interior partition systems including design, fabrication, installation and in-service performance would appear justified. Knowledge of the products and testing methods developed in these studies would be expected to speed further development.