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How do we use timber in civil engineering?

Timber is a natural, renewable, and sustainable resource that has been used in construction for centuries. It has a unique combination of properties that make it an attractive material for various civil engineering applications. Timber elements can be used in a variety of structural and non-structural applications, ranging from bridges and buildings to furniture and decorative elements. In this article, we will discuss the main types of timber elements used for permanent structures in civil engineering.



  1. Timber Beams: Timber beams are the most common type of timber element used in civil engineering. They are typically used to support the load of floors, roofs, and other structural elements. The most common types of timber beams are solid sawn and glulam beams. Solid sawn beams are made by cutting a log into planks and joining them together. Glulam beams, on the other hand, are made by gluing multiple layers of timber together. Both types of beams are strong and durable, and their strength can be increased by increasing their cross-sectional area.

  2. Timber Columns: Timber columns are vertical structural elements used to support the load of the structure. They can be used alone or in combination with other elements such as beams and trusses. The most common types of timber columns are solid sawn and laminated timber columns. Solid sawn columns are made by cutting a log into a square or rectangular shape. Laminated timber columns are made by gluing multiple layers of timber together, similar to glulam beams.

  3. Timber Trusses: Timber trusses are a type of structural element used to span large distances. They are typically used to support roofs and floors in buildings, bridges, and other structures. Timber trusses can be made in various shapes and sizes, ranging from simple triangular shapes to complex designs with multiple angles and curves. They are typically made by joining timber beams or glulam members together using metal plates or timber connectors.

  4. Timber Panels: Timber panels are a versatile type of timber element used in various non-structural applications such as wall cladding, flooring, and furniture. They can be made from solid timber or engineered timber products such as plywood and oriented strand board (OSB). Timber panels can be finished in various ways, including staining, painting, and varnishing, to achieve the desired aesthetic appearance.

Timber is a versatile material that can be used in a variety of civil engineering applications. Timber elements such as beams, columns, trusses, and panels are widely used in construction due to their strength, durability, and sustainability. By understanding the different types of timber elements, civil engineers can select the most appropriate material for their specific application and design structures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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