Determination some physical and mechanical properties and usability of edrela odorata wood

Do Van Ban

Forest Plant Resources Research Division (FPRRD)

Forest Science Institute of Vietnam (FSIV) 

The tree species Cedrela odorata L. belongs to the family Meliaceae, and is distributed widely in  Latin America. In 1986 and 1989 Nguyen Huu Loc, Pham Quang Minh and Do Xuan Quy brought some seeds from Mexico and seeded them in places such as Huu Lung (Lang Son Province) and Xuan Mai (Hanoi City). Ten years after seeding, some seedlings have become big trees with 45-60 cm diameter. Ex-Vice Prime Minister Nguyen Cong Tan was very interested in this species and he asked the Forestry Department to put forward information on the usability of the wood of C. odorata. The FSIV has received instruction to determine some physical and mechanical properties and research the manufacture of wood based panels and boards. This research was realized by the Forest Plant Resources Research Division in 2002. The task was to provide information on the major wood characteristics and to consider wood usability.Two sample trees were collected from the Central Technical Worker School No. 1 in Huu Lung, Province Lang Son. The first sample tree was 14 years old, had a diameter at breast height of 48 cm, and a branch free stem length of 6.4m. The other sample tree was 13 years old with a diameter at breast height of 26cm and a branch free stem length of 6.5m. The sample logs were cut from those sample trees beginning at 1.3m from stock. The stock part not used for sampling was used for making sawn timber, sliced veneer, and rotary peeled veneer, which made plywood, and block board. All waste was used for particle board.

The methods for determining the physical and mechanical wood properties were applied according to Vietnamese standards. The wood anatomical description was according to form developed by FPRRD. The valuation of quality of wood based boards was taken by observation and experts.

The results of this study showed that the wood of C. odorata was ordered based on their density (479 and 501kg/m3) to light – very light wood group. The wood had medium shrinkage coefficients (0.39 and 0.41), medium to high water absorption capacity (178% and 187%). The compression strengths were medium (346 and 393kg/cm2), tangential bending strengths low to very low (604 and 683kg/cm2), tangential MOE very low (74 and 82 x 103kg/cm2),  longitudinal shear strengths low on radial face (71 and 75kg/cm2), and tangential impact bending strengths low (0.24 and 0.28 (kgm/cm3).

The wood is in general light and soft. The annual rings are distinct. The heartwood is yellow brown and sapwood is lighter. The odor is distinct. The sawn wood and wood based boards were evaluated as high grade by experts after a long time stored in room condition.

In general, C. odorata is a fast growing tree species and can grow to a large tree with a long and high quality stem. The wood is easy to saw as well as to plane. Based on anatomical characteristics the wood may be easy to treat, easy to dry and durable. Because the wood is light, the mechanical strengths are only medium and low; and the wood of this species may be suitable for light construction, furniture, interior decoration, and sawn board. In addition, it is suitable for wood-based boards such as plywood, veneer, particle boards and block board. 

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