Wood and Bio-fibre Composites
Timber Identification & Wood Preservation
Solid Wood
PhD Program
Forests play a very significant role for the welfare of not only the present generation but also of the future generations. They are essential component of the environmental conservation efforts and degradation of forests has adverse impact on bio-diversity, water/soil resources, climate, as also on the subsistence living of people living in and around or in close proximity of forests.
Many benefits of the forests are not accounted for due to their being non-market, external benefits, or traditional uses taken for granted.
The National Forestry Action Programme - India, a twenty year comprehensive plan for development of forests, has envisaged five main action areas, namely
(i) Protection of existing Forests,
(ii) Improvement of forest Productivity,
(iii) Reduction of Total Demand,
(iv) Strengthening Policy & Institutional Framework, and
(v) Expansion of Forest Area.
One of the major direct contributions of forest has traditionally been in meeting the need for shelter, on eof the three basic human needs, the other two being food and clothing. Wood, bamboo and other natural fibers from forests have been in use in times immemorial in house construction and still wood continues to be the favoured material for housing and construction and other sectors of use.
There is a huge gap between supply and demand for wood, including the gap in respect of industrial wood raw material, which is of the order of 25-30 per cent of the demand. The gap may decrease gradually when the benefits of the intensive efforts now being made to grow trees through agro/social/farm forestry, other plantation and better management of natural forests through innovative practices including JFM approach activities start flowing to the society. Wood is the most eco-friendly and can be sustainably produced to meet the increasing demand of growing population.
The so called wood-substitutes, like metal and plastics, that have been advocated in the recent past in the wake of the perceived need for conservation of natural forests, are high energy consuming, non biodegradable and on the whole highly environment unfriendly. A two pronged approach is essential to bridge this gap.
Rationalizing the utilization of available wood resources through appropriate technological intervention, and Development of wood alternates from other natural/renewable fibers.
At IPIRTI, R&D activities have already been reoriented to achieve these twin goals. Consequently, two main areas of applied research are: development of efficient technologies for Wood and wood based Composites, and evolving technologies for manufacturing wood alternates from natural/renewable fibers.
Guided by the fact that plantation grown wood will be the major source of industrial raw material for wood products, the main R&D activity of the Institute aims at efficient utilization of fast growing plantation timber species for production of sawn timber, plywood, and other wood composites. Wood produced in fast growing plantations has several characteristics compared to wood available from traditional forest grown tree species, viz. smaller diameters, lower dimensional stability and low natural durability, necessitating technological intervention for their proper utilization in meeting the societal needs in respect of wood and wood products.
Affordable Housing using bamboo and bamboo Composites.
The building system satisfies the following basic requirements:
Affordability: foundations are minimised, wall panels are non-loadbearing and can be reduced in thickness, basic components (bamboo, wire, bolts, chicken mesh, cement) are inexpensive.
Sustainability and environmental impact: Bamboo is available in commercial quantities using the established supply system. It is a renewable resource with a short rotation period and can be grown on degraded land. The bamboo is treated using environmentally friendly preservatives. The use of high energy embodied materials (cement, steel) is minimised.
Cultural acceptability: The system offers traditional materials in a modern engineering context. The result is homely, with the feel of permanence
Durability and safety: All bamboo components are treated with safe preservatives to give extended life; the structure is engineered to resist wind and earthquake forces and other imposed lads.
Improved jointing techniques: nailing (and therefore splitting) is eliminated; wiring, bolting and strapping provides positive connections
Modular construction: suited to either prefabrication or fabrication in-situ: all components are designed to be prefabricated (e.g. infill grids, roof trusses), or prepared on site
Ease of assembly: Only basic carpentry and masonry tools and skills are required to undertake the construction.
Wood preservation:
With the increase in use of plantation timbers like Poplar, Rubber wood, Silver oak and other farm grown timbers service life of wood composites like plywood, block board, flush door has been found to be lower compared to similar produces made from traditional forest tree species. This is due to the fact that timber from many fast growing tree species is susceptible to attack by borers, termites and fungi.

However, incidences of attack by the wood destroying organisms can be prevented by incorporating suitable chemical treatments in the process of manufacturing various panel materials including plywood, block boards, and flush doors. IPIRTI has done extensive research on these aspects and also for treatment of plywood/block board/flush door, which can be easily adopted by the industry for manufacturing quality products.
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