Journal article

Mechanical properties of Papua New Guinea balsa wood

Nathan J Kotlarewski, Benoit Belleville, Benson K Gusamo, Barbara Ozarska

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WOOD AND WOOD PRODUCTS | SPRINGER | Published : 2016

Abstract

The mechanical properties of plantation-grown balsa wood from Papua New Guinea (PNG) were determined according to American Society for Testing and Materials D143-09. Static bending, hardness, compression parallel and perpendicular to grain, and shear parallel to grain tests were performed on kiln-dried specimens segregated into the three international density classes (80 ≤ 120, 120 ≤ 180 and 180 ≤ 220 kg/m ). The literature states balsa with a density between 120 and 180 kg/m has the most commercial value in contemporary markets. The results presented in this study indicate that balsa with a density around 150 kg/m can have superior strength properties to balsa with a higher and lower dens..

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Funding Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Kulala Mulung, Emily Flowers, Peter Kanowski and Braden Jenkin for organising Benson Gusamo's trip and travel expenses to the University of Melbourne, Australia as a part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) balsa Project FST/2009/016. We are grateful to Allen Brittain for assistance in preparing balsa shear specimens at Swinburne University of Technology. Thanks to the balsa processors: The PNG Balsa Company Ltd and Coconut Products Limited in PNG for supplying the balsa for testing.