Researchers at NUI Galway have begun designing high quality forestry products through the use of innovative engineering technologies. The research project will be spearheaded by Dr Annette Harte, a senior lecturer of civil engineering and member of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. The first stage of this new initiative, with an estimated cost of €500,000, is to create a database that will list details of all recognised properties of Irish produced timber. The next step will be to re-engineer the timber in order to create products with enhanced strength and durability.
Sustainable materials are in great demand in the construction industry and for this to be achieved, more innovative timber materials which can replace the more traditional ones that carry less environmental efficiency are the solution.
The project will be conducted using modern technology methods at the University’s timber research laboratory - Ireland’s primary timber and engineered wood products testing facility.
Dr Harte explains: “This funding will help us to develop a world-class competence to exploit Ireland’s natural resource of wood. We aim to identify the potential for producing added-value timber products for construction applications from Irish timber resources. These products will allow Irish timber to be used in more demanding applications than before, such as long-span and multi-storey construction.”
The project is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine under the FIRM/RSF/COFORD scheme, and Queens University Belfast is a collaborating partner in the research.
Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway added: “In the context of pressures on resources and the environment, innovation and resource efficiencies can go hand-in-hand with steady economic growth. Dr Harte’s work is helping to create better conditions for timber products and services that should have lower impacts across their life-cycles, and are durable, repairable and recyclable.”