The Sustainable and Renewable Forest Products Group creates knowledge and builds capability in the innovative uses of sustainably-managed timber resources for high-performance timber products.
Wood is the most renewable and sustainable material on the planet which provides both environmental and performance benefits. Thus, by ensuring sustainable forest practices and regenerating this natural product there are real possibilities to significantly improve the environmental credentials of the building and construction industry by choosing timber in the built environment. The Group works closely with architects, engineers, and other professionals to provide sustainable solutions for structural and non-structural applications.
Through national and international research collaborations in Australia, South-East Asia, Papua New Guinea and Europe, the Group is leading or is involved in multiple projects in the field of value-adding to plantation timber resources.
More on our research activities
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) projects
- Advancing enhanced wood manufacturing industries in Laos and Australia
- Enhancing value added wood processing in Papua New Guinea
- Enhancing key elements of the value chains for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR.
Building 4.0 CRC projects
- Developing an internationally competitive, dynamic and thriving Australian advanced manufacturing sector, delivering better buildings at lower cost and the human capacity to lead the future industry.
Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA)
The National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) projects
- Increasing the durability and other material characteristics of Tasmanian hardwoods
- Developing a new generation of Tasmanian appearance hardwood products for in-state design and manufacturing.
The ARC Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing (ARC CAMPH)
The team at the Sustainable and Renewable Forest Products Group has been creating sustainable forest practices for 15 years - we boast an impressive range of academics, graduate researchers and professional and honorary staff.
- Dr Benoit Belleville (Senior Research Fellow) is a wood engineer whose research focuses on timber engineering, engineered wood products, wood adhesion, and mechanical properties of timber.
- Barbara Ozarska (Professor) is a timber engineer whose research focuses on value-added utilization of plantation timber for high-value wood products based on solid wood, veneers and engineered wood.
- Lilik Astari (PhD candidate) aims to propose an eco-friendly particleboard alternative using corn stalk and a renewable formaldehyde-free resign suitable for particleboard manufacturing.
- Johannes Fehrmann (PhD candidate) is assessing the potential for Australian hemp hurd residue (Cannabis sativa L.) for the production of environmentally friendly light-weight biocomposites.
- Esther Oluwatosin Falade (PhD candidate) will be developing options for wood processing methods and product development to offer guidance for plantation improvement strategies in Northern Australia.
- Bernard Gibson (PhD candidate) is currently developing a system to attenuate low-frequency structure-borne sound in multi-storey timber buildings.
- Peter Edwin (PhD candidate) is currently developing a multi-criterion optimisation framework for reducing the greenhouse (GHG) emissions associated with hardwood processing in Papua New Guinea.
- Kristopher Orlowski
- Prof Voytek Gutowski
- Mr Martin Strandgard
- Vendy Eko Prasetyo conducted research to improve the production efficiency of medium-size Indonesian wood furniture companies.
- Ngoc Bao Nguyen analysed the potential production of multilaminar (reconstructed) veneer from low-quality eucalyptus and acacia plantations grown in Vietnam.
- Jamaludin Malik enhanced timber quality of jabon wood (Anthocepalus cadamba) for high-quality products by treatment through densification and impregnation with merbau extractives.
- Phongxiong Wenneng investigated the impact of selected wood characteristics and properties on the market price of plantation-grown teak logs (Tectona grandis Linn.F) in Lao People Democratic Republic.
The wood technology laboratory at Burnley Campus is equipped with a wide range of dedicated equipment for researchers and postgraduate students to undertake studies on physical and mechanical properties of wood species, wood composites, and the performance and durability of wood products.
Instron Universal Testing Machine
Designed for testing mechanical properties of solid, composite, and engineered wood products and assessing bondline strength. The machine is equipped with a 50 kN load cell and most standard tools and fixtures (bending, tension, compression, compression-shearing, hardness).
Hot and cold laboratory press
Tonnage: 25 tons
Platens: 23 cm x 30 cm with a daylight of 13 cm
Temperature: ambient to 315°C
Designed to apply a vertical or horizontal (or both) load to laminated workpieces (up to 3 m long, 1.5 m high, and 30 cm wide) and equipped with pressure load cells to monitor the pressing pressure.
Conveyor and Air Brush Spaying System
Designed to treat wood products with chemicals/coating systems in a controlled environment to ensure repeatability (e.g. water-soluble chemicals solutions, preservatives, fire-retardants).
QUV Accelerated Weathering Unit
Equipment allowing testing materials by exposing them to alternating cycles of UV light and moisture at controlled and elevated temperatures. In a few days or weeks, the QUV tester can reproduce the damage that occurs over months or years outdoors.
Operating range: Up to 135°C and 0.263 MPa
Effective volume: 36 litres
Operating range: 0 to 30 in.Hg; 0 to 100 psi
Capacity: 11.4 litres
Conditioning and Termite Rooms
Two 10 m3 conditioning rooms and one temperature and humidity cabinet (150 litres) which allow precise control of temperature (10°C to 60°C) and relative humidity (20% to 95% RH). One accelerated field simulator (AFS) and/or termite conditioned room for termite and wood decay testing facilities.
Laboratory kilns (3) & Solar kiln
All equipped with data acquisition and programmable controller units to control the temperature and RH conditions. The lab kiln volumes are 0.39 m3.
For testing changes of colour of veneer or coated wood samples after exposure to UV light.
High-Temperature Laboratory Furnace
Temperature: +300 to 1200°C
Capacity: 15 litres
Pull-Off Adhesion Tester
For the mechanical assessment of the performance of coatings and finishing systems on wood samples.