Gerard Van Erp and Da Huang, Fibre Composites Design and Development (FCDD) University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba 4350, Australia
Australian hardwoods are an excellent general purpose building material, however in recent years they have become more expensive, less available, and of poorer general quality than has previously been the case. Many Australian timber bridges will remain in service for the foreseeable future, and the maintenance and potential upgrading of these structures will be an on-going demand, while the availability of traditional resources declines. Compatible alternative timber bridge components are therefore required. Fibre Composites Design and Development (FCDD), a Centre of Excellence at the University of Southern Queensland, in close collaboration with the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation (FWPRDC) and major timber bridge asset owners, has been developing alternative beam solutions for several years. This paper summarises recent developments, and discusses some of the important issues to be considered.
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