Finite element study of growth stress formation in wood and related distortion of sawn timber

Sigurdur Ormarsson, O. Dahlblom, M. Johansson

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Lack of straightness in timber is the most frequent complaint regarding solid (and laminated) timber products worldwide. Nowadays, customers demand higher quality in the shape stability of wood products than they did earlier. The final distortion of timber boards is caused mostly by moisture-related stresses in wood (drying distortions) and growth-related stresses (distortions appearing when logs are split up to timber boards by sawing). To get more knowledge on how these distortions can be reduced in wooden products, there is a need for improved understanding of this material behaviour through good numerical tools developed from empirical data. A three-dimensional finite element board distortion model developed by Ormarsson (1999) has been extended to include the influence of growth stresses by incorporating a one-dimensional finite element growth stress model developed here. The growth stress model is formulated as an axisymmetric general plane strain model where material for all new annual rings is progressively added to the tree during the analysis. The simulation results presented include how stresses are progressively generated during the tree growth, distortions related to the redistribution of growth stresses during log sawing, and distortions and stresses in drying reflecting the effects of growth stresses. The results show that growth stresses clearly vary during tree growth and also form a large stress gradient from pith to bark. This in itself can result in significant bow and crook deformations when logs are sawn into timber boards. The distortion results from the simulations match well with the results observed in reality. The parametric study also showed that the radial growth stress distribution is highly influenced by parameters such as modulus of elasticity, micro fibril angle and maturation strain.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWood Science and Technology
    Issue number5-6
    Pages (from-to)387-403
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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