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
- 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.
- Using the Whole Tree for Future Timber-Based Construction
- Australian Timber Fibre Insulation
- More information about the Building 4.0 CRC
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)
NIFPI Gippsland Centre
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.
- 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
- Khamtan Phonetip investigated optimised drying methods for Eucalyptus delegatensis and simulated solar kiln conditions using intermittent drying schedules in a conventional kiln to develop a model for gaining a better understanding of solar drying characteristics and to identify suitable locations for solar kilns.
Download PhD thesis
- Vendy Eko Prasetyo conducted research to improve the production efficiency of medium-size Indonesian wood furniture companies.
Download PhD thesis
- Ngoc Bao Nguyen analysed the potential production of multilaminar (reconstructed) veneer from low-quality eucalyptus and acacia plantations grown in Vietnam.
Download PhD thesis
- Jamaludin Malik enhanced timber quality of jabon wood (Anthocepalus cadamba) for high-quality products by treatment through densification and impregnation with merbau extractives.
Download PhD thesis
- Phongxiong Wanneng 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.
Download PhD thesis
- Bernard Gibson (PhD candidate) developed a system to attenuate low-frequency structure-borne sound in multi-storey timber buildings.
Download PhD Thesis
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.
Microwave (MW) wood modification laboratory
MW installations located at UoM Creswick campus to study the effects of MW wood modification on wood structure, properties, and process parameters. Plants specifications: 60 kW MW conveyor, f = 0.922 GHz; 2 x 30 kW roller conveyor plant, 2.45 GHz and laboratory MW plant – 5.8 GHz.
There is a growing local and global demand for wood products and a predicted shortfall in timber for housing in Australia.
Where the forestry plantation footprint needs to be expanded such measures will take decades to flow through to the timber market. In the meantime, growth in supply can best be managed by optimising our use of our resources. Trees on farms and private native forests are potentially significant timber and veneer resources, but little is known about the quantity or quality of this resource or its potential for use in new types of veneered timber products. Resource is also potentially available from ecological thinning on public land, council reserves, and land under Traditional Owner management.
The collaborative R&D project funded by the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) Gippsland Centre aims to develop new and improved EWPs from low grade and underutilised timber resources in Gippsland. More specifically, the research team will test the potential to process smaller, underutilised, and low-quality hardwood using spindleless lathe technology to produce LVL. The project represents an opportunity for the forest products sector in Gippsland to play a vital role in providing the building sector with a locally produced high-quality EWP to meet the timber demand and secure Gippsland’s role in driving forestry research. Ultimately, such products will generate higher value for tree growers and processors, support the development of new industries, meet the shortfall in supply of processed timber products to meet local and national demand and provide new markets for private tree growers. The initiative will act as a catalyser in developing a sustainable timber manufacturing strategy to address the above-mentioned supply chain issues.
Two (2) MPhil opportunities to assess of the suitability of the Gippsland timber resource for LVL production and provide an improved environment for appropriate plantation and native forests development capable of absorbing underutilised timber and lower quality wood resource are attached to the project:
- Resource characterisation study
As part of the study, a variety of lower-quality timber resources from the Gippsland region from both private and public native, plantations and farms will be peeled at an industrial scale and evaluated. Trials to investigate the recovery and grade quality of peeled small-diameter logs will assist in proposing viable log processing options to generate veneer material to be used for manufacturing locally produced EWPs such as LVL. Working closely with the project partner in an industrial context, the selected candidate will characterise and optimise the processing parameters to determine the quality of the selected resources and address technical issues encountered with the equipment and different resources during the process. Through veneer properties assessment, fabrication and testing of prototypes, and comparison with products commercially available in Australia, the candidate will then identify opportunities for using and/or introducing the obtained resources in structural product applications and provide indication of potential product(s) position(s) in the market.
- Economic forestry study
Working closely with the project partners and stakeholders, the selected candidate will be responsible for underpinning and providing evidence of the feasibility and profitability of absorbing and processing small-diameter logs, underutilised timber, and lower quality wood resource from the Gippsland region to produce high-value engineered wood products and create economic opportunities for grower communities. The candidate will determine quantity and explore potential distribution of the available resources and identify sampling resources. Taking onto account the volumes, qualities, and costs associated with forest management and operation, the candidate will compare and evaluate the financial and technical feasibility to use and/or introduce the different selected resources in structural product applications and identify opportunities to help improve the wood value-chain profitability and silvicultural practices.
More details on this project, as well as application details can be downloaded here:
Gippsland NIFPI MPhil Opportunities (PDF 136.2 KB)
How do I apply?
Send a CV and cover letter explaining why you are interested in this PhD project and why you are a suitable candidate to Dr Benoit Belleville at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information or to discuss research ideas please reach out to Dr Benoit Belleville.