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How to get more from pine? Create the world’s largest pine study!

A one-of-a-kind large-scale pine treatability research project is looking at how to support the most effective treatment and production of the highest quality and most durable pine in Australia.

The study is a partnership between the FWPA-supported Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life (Centre), the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the University of the Sunshine Coast also showcases the power of collaboration between the industry’s Australian researchers.

More than 5,000 samples of different pine species from across Australia collected through the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation project Characterising Softwood Sawn products in Australia undertaken at UniSA, will be tested by the Centre for their treatment characteristics. This will provide useful data to support optimal pine production and protection from the likes of pests and the elements over the long term.

About 25 per cent of samples have been processed and measured. The results are promising in terms of their responsiveness to diverse treatments.

The research team is confident about the value of this extensive and detailed Australian study.

“Having such a large knowledge base around the effectiveness of various treatments for pine based on the specific characteristics of the timber will be a valuable resource for the industry,” said Professor Jeffrey Morrell, Director of the Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life.

While the Centre’s role in the work focuses on informing the industry of the best treatment options for Australia’s various pine species, the benefits of the UniSA project include the ability for predictions to be made about ‘production line’ optimisation to process bending, tension, compression and shear tests from structural timber, with associated moisture and density data. The results of this work will support industry by demonstrating the accuracy of its current testing practices in this area.

The work is an unexpected offshoot of a pre-existing UniSA National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) project that was reviewing and analysing the structural properties of MGP.

The Centre became aware of the project at a jointly hosted workshop with UniSA, Dr Geoff Broughton, Director of UniSA partner TimberED Services, who spoke about his team’s work. The work captured and tested a representative sample of softwood sawn timber from 13 major Australian sawmills.

Given the UniSA team was already collecting the required timber for their own research processes, it made sense for the Centre to partner.

“Without this cross-communication, we would probably never have thought it possible to take on a project of this size, given the huge amount of work it needed to collect such a large number of samples required for testing,” said Professor Morrell.

This initiative is also an excellent example of how researchers can come together and collaborate, piggybacking off one another’s work, and expand research outcomes to meet a much broader set of goals. A targeted joint effort reduces doubling up and in turn extends research funding budgets and increases efficiencies for the forestry research and development sector.

Posted Date: April 10, 2023

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