Species, grading, and mechanical properties of locally sourced timber in the Joyabaj region of Guatemala
The purpose of this project was to research the timber used by Engineers without Borders (EWB) groups in the Joyabaj region of Guatemala. This project aimed to investigate the species of wood, evaluate the quality by assessing the distribution of timber grades, and determine mechanical properties. The results will aid EWB groups in the design of wood structures in the Joyabaj region of Guatemala.
Samples were collected for species investigation and mechanical testing. Species investigation was triangulated from interviews with the sawmill owner, construction foreman, testing by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, and comparisons to literature. The results were inconclusive and indicated multiple species were intermixed at the sawmill with no distinction made when purchased. Timber quality was evaluated by using a visual grading guide developed by the authors to assess the distribution of grades within a large order of lumber. Static bending and compression parallel to grain tests were conducted to obtain modulus of rupture, compression parallel to grain, and modulus of elasticity. Specific gravity was also obtained.
The results indicate that three different species were collected. Ninety per cent (90%) of the timber was No. 3 or better and 50% to 80% was No. 2 or better depending on the size. Clear wood testing values were similar to those of Eastern White Pine. Structural design should be performed based on National Design Specification (NDS) design values for a No. 3 or No. 2 Eastern White Pine, depending on the degree of wood selection in the construction process.
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