'Virtual Sawing' Approach to Predicting Quality of Timber

A new approach for predicting board MOE from increment cores

The use of timber in the building and construction industry provides a wide range of benefits. Timber grown from responsibly-managed plantations is renewable, locks up carbon in the wood fibres, and can provide more aesthetically-pleasing environments than other traditional building products.


Dr Steve Psaltis

The properties of timber can vary widely between trees, and within a tree. One of the key properties of interest for the construction industry is stiffness, characterised by the modulus of elasticity (MOE). To meet required standards for structural purposes, timber must have a MOE of 10 GPa (Gigapascals), however determining this prior to sawing a tree can be difficult. Existing technologies only provide a measure of the whole log, which is often not representative of individual sawn boards.

In new work published in the Annals of Forest Science, researchers in ACEMS at QUT, led by Dr Steven Psaltis, in collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast, CIRAD in France and industry partners from Hyne Timber and Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, have developed a novel 'virtual sawing' approach that allows them to predict the MOE of individual timber boards while they are still growing in a tree. This can have significant impacts on the management and allocation of the timber resource, and hence improve the productivity and profitability of the timber and forestry industry.

Members of research team not in ACEMS:

  • Chandan Kumar, Queensland Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Loïc Brancheriau, CIRAD, Université de Montpellier
  • Elliot Carr, QUT School of Mathematical Sciences
  • Henri Bailléres, Hyne Timber Pty Ltd

  • David J. Lee, Forest Industries Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast