Structural Veneer Based Composite products from hardwood thinning – Part II: Testing of hollow utility poles
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Australian utility pole network is aging and reaching its end of life, with 70% of the 5 million poles currently in-service nationally installed within the 20 years following the end of World War II. The estimated investment required for the replacement or remedial maintenance of the aging 3.5 millions poles is as high as 1.75 billion dollars. Additionally, an estimated 21,700 high-durability new poles are required each year, representing further investment of 13.5 million dollars per year. Yet, agreements which progressively phase out logging of native forests around Australia have been signed, giving the industry about 25 years to make the transition from Crown native forests to plantations and private forests. As utility poles were traditionally cut from native forest hardwood species, finding solutions to source new poles currently presents a challenge. This paper presents tests on Veneer Based Composite hardwood hollow utility poles manufactured from Gympie messmate (Eucalyptus cloeziana) plantation thinning. Small diameter poles of nominal 115 mm internal diameter and 15 mm wall-thickness were manufactured in two half-poles butt jointed together, using 9 veneers per halfpole. The poles were tested in bending and shear, and experimental test results are presented. The mechanical performance of the hollow poles is discussed and compared to hardwood poles cut from mature trees and of similar size. Future research and different options for improving the current concept are proposed in order to provide a more reliable and cost effective technical solution to the current shortage of utility poles.
Materials and Joints in Timber Structures: Recent Advancement of Technology, Proceedings of the RILEM 2014 Conference
© 2014 Springer Netherlands. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com