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High-Tech Modular Building Components with High Contents of Australian Hardwoods

High-Tech Modular Building Components with High Contents of Australian Hardwoods


The project aim was to create a competitive platform to enable a significant increase of hardwood use by the Australian building and construction sectors. This was to be enabled by designing, developing and validating high-performance hybrid materials for manufacturing engineered products for exterior building applications meeting essential performance standards. Prefabricated modular components capitalising on the superior strength, hardness, and in-built durability of some Australian hardwoods were the principal targets outcomes.


The collaborative project involved CSIRO, University of Melbourne and Swinburne University.


The principal approaches utilised in the project were: 


(i) to incorporate a reactive interface onto hardwood surface to enhance bonding performance of bonded products for accommodating interfacial stresses arising from hydrothermal movements,

(ii) to provide strong and durable bond with exterior durable coatings for maintaining coating adhesion and hardwood natural appearance, and 

(iii) to provide design recommendations for exterior hardwood products.  


These enabled fabrication of high-value added engineered products with the aim of achieving excellent long-term durability for bonded and coated hardwood products and retention of initial decorative-visual attributes of natural timber for the time that may reach, as estimated preliminarily, up to approximately 15 years. 


The R&D results have demonstrated that using CSIRO’s surface modification technology can significantly improve bond strength and durability of bonded and coated Australian hardwood products. 


The outcome of this project provides a promising technology combining remarkable enhancement of long-term performance of bonded and coated hardwood, whilst product design recommendations for Australian hardwood products manufacturers enable development of engineered designer-products for buildings’ exterior and interior applications, e.g. prefabricated cladding modular components, in-built functional, decorative and structural hardwood products that has significantly increased their ability to meet relevant essential long-term performance standards.


The outcomes also create potential for further innovation in hardwood-based modular building and architectural systems manufactured, surface finished and assembled off-site, and ready for installation at the designated construction site.  




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