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Five wood species, Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia Benth.), Balau (Shorea spp.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco), Western red cedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don), and Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) were loaded in compression longitudinally, radially and tangentially. The wood cubes were conditioned to one of four moisture contents prior to loading. Small cubes were loaded until no void space remained after which samples were released and soaked in water. Stress /strain curves were recorded over the whole range of strain and cube thicknesses were recorded at the end of the compression, after release from the testing apparatus, and after soaking in water. Denser woods resulted in a greater Young’s modulus, higher levels of stress and shorter time to densification than did less dense woods. Higher initial moisture contents apparently increased the plasticity of the wood leading to a lower Young’s modulus and lower levels of stress during compression, greater springback after release of stress and greater recovery after swelling in water. Differences observed in the radial and tangential behaviours were believed to be due to the supporting action of the rays when the wood was compressed in the radial direction in balau and trembling aspen and to the relative difference between the lower density earlywood and higher density latewood regions in ash, Douglas-fir and western red cedar.


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