The objective of this initiative is to re-evaluate Forintek's research strategy and the Canadian Wood Council's technology transfer strategy in durability of wood products and systems in the light of changing industrial, regulatory, environmental, and social factors. Forintek and the CWC chose to undertake this process jointly, in order to develop well-matched parallel activities that are mutually supportive and grounded in common underlying objectives. In this way, both organizations can most effectively and efficiently address our members' needs in an area of growing challenges for the wood industry.
The first step in the strategic planning process was the creation of a joint CWC/Forintek Durability Guidance Group. This group was canvassed for input on high priority issues related to wood durability. Forintek and CWC then developed ideas for deliverables or tasks in research and technology transfer, respectively. At this stage we are looking for input on the degree to which this draft strategy addresses industry needs.
There are six species of poplar native to Canada's forests. One of the most abundant and widely used of the species is the aspen poplar (populus Tremuloides). Aspen has become the most desirable species for the production of oriented strandboard (OSB). Certain sections of Alberta and British Columbia have considerable stands of aspen. The aspen stands also contain varying amounts of balsam poplar (populus balsamifera) and black cottonwood (populus trichocarpa) and various hybrids of the three species. Forintek Canada Corp's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was asked by the B.C.Ministry of Forests to establish whether cottonwood could be a suitable furnish for the production of OSB, since it represented a sizeable potential resource in British Columbia. The poplar species are loosely identified by several names and to confirm the actual species we were referred to Mr.Bob Brash, District Manager, Dawson Creek Forest District. Mr.Brash confirmed that the species in question was in fact balsam poplar (populus balsamifera). Balsam poplar is also known as black poplar and balm poplar. An extensive literature search was conducted on the use of balsam poplar/cottonwood in the production of OSB. The literature review and a summary are reported here.
The Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence of Wood-Based Building Science and Technology will establish a bridge between the wood products industry and construction markets of the 21st century. The Network will integrate the research of scientists, engineers and architects with proven excellence in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Ste-Foy and Fredericton. The Government of Canada will contribute $14 million to the Network, that is 67% of its $21 million budget for the first four years of operation. The balance, $7 million, will be contributed by universities, provincial governments and industry. The Canadian wood products industry is facing increasing pressures due to market-related shifts in demand for traditional products; overcapacity of commodity products; changing raw material supply; and substitution from non-wood structural materials. Maintenance of wood products' market share in housing, and expansi- on of wood-based buildings' market share in non-residential constr- uction, are the keys to future competitiveness of the wood products industry. To realize these market opportunities, new value-added wood prod- ucts must be provided, along with advanced building systems and components, by exploiting the demonstrated strengths of wood products. This will be accomplished by developing an understanding of the changing requirements for wood-based buildings, developing the scientific knowledge base to enable wood to compete effectively, and training highly-qualified scientists and engineers to enhance the leadership position of Canada's wood products in emerging markets.
This project is a product of the merger of two continuing projects, namely “Fire Safety in Canadian Housing” and “Characterization of Fires in Residential Buildings”. The project formerly called “Fire Safety in Canadian Housing” included FPInnovations’ contribution to the National Research Council’s (NRC) consortium project looking at the effect of different fire protection measures on wood floor/ceiling assemblies on the life safety of occupants in single family houses. The current project is Phase Ib which is an extension of the original project which investigated the impact of different unprotected wood floor assemblies such as solid sawn joists, wood I-joists, wood trusses, etc. on the life safety of occupants. The project formerly called “Characterization of Fires in Residential Buildings” included FPInnovations’ contribution to the NRC’s consortium project looking at the development of design fires and design fire scenarios for residential buildings. Specifying design fires is an important step in a performance-based design. Since both of the research projects involve overseeing research conducted by the NRC dealing with fire in residential housing, they have been combined to allow simplified reporting.