Next: a stronger wood

| Print |  Email
Friday, May 01, 2009

NextPoplarIn the world of structural building materials, poplar trees are about as useful as toothpicks; their weak, low-density wood is quick to snap under excess weight. But Oregon State University wood science professor Fred Kamke is changing the construction industry’s low opinion of hybrid poplar. Kamke compresses the wood using heat, steam and pressure until it is twice as strong as old-growth Douglas fir. “You don’t have to simply accept the properties of wood that Mother Nature provided,” he says. While hardwoods such as fir and pine take decades to mature, hybrid poplar reach maximum height in 10 to 15 years and thrive in Oregon, where they can be planted in tight crops. Kamke says the wood, which would otherwise be made into paper and pulp, is so strong when treated that it could replace steel and concrete for some construction purposes. Kamke is looking for an investor to finance a factory to produce the new wood product. Until then, they will keep looking for better ways to turn toothpicks into timber.

NICOLE STORMBERG
 

More Articles

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Streetfight

News
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.


Read more...

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS