Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Craig Cowled
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


Wood is the ultimate renewable construction material. Roughly half of the dry weight of a tree is carbon which has been sucked out of the atmosphere during the life of the tree. Many common building products are made from wood that has been engineer-designed for improved performance.

In this project you will have the opportunity to engage directly with industry partner Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA) to study the structural performance characteristics (i.e., bending, punching shear, creep, connections, etc.) of particleboard flooring available in the Australian market. Your experimental work will directly contribute to updating EWPAA design guides for flooring.

Research activities

This is a hands on research project. You will need to participate in briefings with the industry partner to determine their needs. A small literature review may be required to identify appropriate test methods. You will then work closely with a post-doctoral researcher in a civil engineering laboratory doing structural materials testing. Test results will then be analysed and presented in a report.


This project is part of a much larger project which is focused on updating design guidelines on particleboard flooring. The aim of your work will be to characterise one of the following structural performance characteristics of particleboard flooring:

  • bending
  • beam shear
  • punching shear
  • creep
  • connections.

The influence of moisture and weathering on structural performance characteristics is an important focus of the project.

The outcome of this project will be recommendations to EWPAA on updating design guidelines.

Skills and experience

The ideal candidate for this project is someone with an interest in extending their knowledge of sustainable structural materials and a desire to contribute to updating our scientific knowledge of them. Some experience with Excel and/or Matlab would help with analysis of experimental data. Prior experience in the residential building industry would be an advantage, but is not required. Most of all, a willingness to learn and get involved in laboratory work is important.



Contact the supervisor for more information.