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MEMBER Forest Operations; Pulp, Paper and Bioproducts;

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Summary

Airborne sound insulation performance of wall assemblies is a critical aspect which is directly associated with the comfort level of the occupants, which in turn affects the market acceptance. In single-family and low-rise residential buildings, the partition walls, whether loadbearing or non-loadbearing, are commonly framed with studs of solid sawn lumber of 2x4, 2x6, and 2x8. In commercial buildings and multi-storey residential buildings, the partition walls, are commonly framed using light-gauge steel studs. Light-gauge steel studs are typically C-shape channels. Comparing with the solid sawn lumber studs, they are lighter in weight and dimensionally more stable with less likelihood of bowing and warping. Bowed and warped solid sawn lumber studs need to be straightened before they could be used properly, and such corrective actions are tedious and increase the construction cost. Moreover, it is found that that the 25 gauge steel studs have better sound insulation performance than solid sawn lumber studs in partition wall applications. The shortcomings for solid sawn lumber studs identified above form the motivation for this project to develop wood studs that would address these shortcomings so to promote wood greater use in partition walls. To achieve the objective, the following steps were taken in this study: • Selection of a steel stud as the base reference; • Conceptual design of innovative lightweight composite wood studs; • Development of the manufacturing process for the innovative lightweight composite wood studs; • Fabrication of the innovative lightweight composite wood studs; • Measurements of the mechanical properties of the composite wood studs; • Design and fabrication of steel-stud and composite wood-stud wall specimens for sound insulation tests; • Measurement of airborne sound insulation performance of the stud wall specimens using reference steel stud wall as the base for the comparison. Four types of innovative composite wood studs were developed and fabricated. They were lighter weight and more flexible than the reference of the 25 gauge steel stud. All the walls specimens of the composite wood studs achieved at least the same ASTC ratings as the reference of the 25 gauge steel stud wall. In general, the conceptual design and fabrication work and the preliminary test results have shown that a partition-wall stud made out of composite wood material could have same or better airborne sound insulation performance as compared to the 25 gauge steel stud. The concept is promising, with a manufacturing process and fabrication that would work or be practical. It is recommended to: 1) File a concept disclosure document of the design, manufacturing process and fabrication of the innovative composite wood studs; 2) Extend the design and fabrication to use other wood composites; 3) Optimize the design and fabrication for the innovative composite wood studs to achieve higher ratio of performance to cost than the 25 gauge steel stud; 4) Enhance FPI’s current mock-up capacity to include the wall test facility; 5) Examine the effects of various design and fabrication parameters on the various performance aspects for the optimization using the enhanced mock-up.

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