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

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


Read more...

Political theater

News
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
0107-orbizplansum14-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

Ski traffic

News
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


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