Assessment of physical and mechanical properties of papua new guinea timber species
Keywords:Compression strength, flexural bending strength, hardness, plantations, regrowth forests, shear, stiffness
A comprehensive testing program has been developed to assess different physical and mechanical properties of 26 commercial and lesser-known PNG species from secondary and plantation forests. The impact of log position in a tree on the mechanical properties has also been assessed to optimize the utilization of timbers along the value chain. The results showed that stiffness and bending strength tend to decrease or remain unchanged along the stem. Shear strength and Janka hardness displayed a similar trend to a lesser extent where the position in the tree had a limited impact on compression strength properties. Thus, segregating based on log position can be of interest where desired mechanical properties and costs associated with segregating justify optimum mechanical properties for the intended end use. The properties of selected species from plantations and regrowth forests were generally lower than those found in the literature for timbers from old-growth forests. The size of specimens tested, the amount and provenance of tested material, and some adaptive traits for tropical tree species are some factors potentially explaining observed differences. However, a comparison with recent studies tends to confirm the overall reduction of physical and mechanical properties when compared with old-growth forests timbers.
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