Timber engineering remains a popular subject with the boom in the construction industry. With timber being one of the most popular construction materials, considerable significance is attributed to the study of timber's structural attributes, environmentally friendly features, and other economic issues. With the increased demand for timber in construction, many qualified engineers have begun studying timber's characteristics and features as applicable to the construction requirements. Timber engineering forms part of the novel and sustainable development in civil engineering.
Timber engineering is not new; since the start of civilization, timber has been used in construction. Primitive man made timber houses. These structures developed into better houses, bridges, and towers. Timber frame is a testament to the usage of timber in construction applications. Timber bridges are also very successful, as bridges made of timber are very economical and suitable for diverse weather conditions. As per the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), 7% of all bridges in the United States are made of timber.
Engineers in a timber engineering program learn the skills to evaluate, analyze, design and assess timber-based system qualities and will also work to design buildings with timber and study the principles of timber form and construction. Timber engineers also study the basics of project management and its application in professional engineering.
Timber possess many advantages when compared with other construction materials, such as renewability, recyclability, commercial attractiveness and cost competitiveness, aesthetics in construction, excellent strength to weight ratio, inherent resistance to chemicals that would affect steel and concrete, natural insulation, and high internal damping characteristics due to its inherent cell structure and organization. Due to these factors, timber has remained a very valuable resource for structural engineering when compared with steel and other construction materials. Due to all of these advantages, engineers working with timber find increasingly evolving career opportunities.
At graduate level students of timber engineering will be exposed to the principles of woodland and forest management principles, principles of mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. Other courses include wood physics and business management principles, wood biology, mechanical process engineering, food production, ergonomics, and the trade and marketing of timber and timber products. Other topics of study include wood technology, timber interior fitting, and refinishing works. There is ample research work in progress to make timber much more feasible for construction applications. Enhancing the strength of the timber, improving fire performance, increasing fire fall-off times, improving timber adhesion and fastenability, enhancing the strength of timber in multi layered structures, and improving the suitability of timber for tall structures are some of the numerous research challenges in timber engineering.
Timber engineering professionals can find diverse careers in forest management, forest works/crafts, forest ranging, community and urban foresting, consultancy, construction management, construction supervision, and furniture manufacturing. JWM, TTJ, and TOL are but a few online sources of timber engineering trade-related information.
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