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

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

Flattery with Numbers

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The false promise of economic impact statements.


Read more...

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


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