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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 6

I Construction During The Settlement Years

II The Use Of Timber As A Structural Material

III Structural Steel

IV Concrete Technology

V Housing

VI Industrialised Pre-cast Concrete Housing

VII Ports And Harbours

VIII Roads

IX Heavy Foundations

X Bridges

XI Sewerage

XII Water Engineering

XIII Railways

XIV Major Buildings

XV Airports

XVI Thermal Power Stations

XVII Materials Handling

XVIII Oil Industry

XIX The Snowy Mountains Scheme

XX The Sydney Opera House

XXI The Sydney Harbour Bridge

XXII Hamersley Iron

XXIII North West Shelf

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The Use Of Timber As A Structural Material (continued)

In the 1960s many new developments occurred which made a significant contribution to Australian timber engineering. Possibly the most notable was the development of the automated truss industry. This industry now produces roof trusses, finely engineered by computerised systems, for 50 per cent of all new house construction in Australia. Another development was the engineered application of structural plywood, which now accounts for the use of some 80 per cent of all Australian produced plywood. These applications include concrete formwork, flooring, wall bracing systems and long span box beams.

The 1960s also saw construction of the first commercial pressure treatment plants for the preservative impregnation of timber; until then the only such plants in Australia were those owned and used solely by public utilities. Two other significant developments of the 1960s were the production of a commercial machine for mechanically stress grading timber, and the commercial application of gluing technology to fabricate structural components. This last development has been useful for producing large sizes of strong structural members through laminating or gluing together planks of timber, unidirectional plywood veneers, squashed timber and sliced flakes of wood; this technology shows considerable promise for the future.

Numerous new technical developments are in progress today. Currently Australia is a world leader in the application of timber technology for house frame construction; our framing techniques and automated roof truss construction industry are both among the world's best. The potential of today's technology for application to large structures has, however, yet to be realised, and will probably need to await an improvement in the education and quality control aspects of our timber engineering.

People in Bright Sparcs - Leicester, Dr R. H.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 321, Online Edition 2000
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