Mechanical Behavior of Pericopsis elata Relative to Age during Growth
Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
The assamela (afrormosia) whose scientific name is "Pericopsis elata" (Harms), a large tree of great commercial value, is an exploited species. It is considered "endangered" by the IUCN." Trees ready for harvesting are scarce because the logging diameter, which has been set at 100 cm, is very big. The studies recommended by the Cameroonian government as part of the ITTO/CITES project activities should be carried out to determine a new minimum logging diameter as the diameter increases with age.
... No credible solution is provided in the scientific literature to compensate for its scarcity of exploitation. Moreover, little or no information is available for describing the variation of its mechanical properties over time in order to determine the age at which its wood mechanical properties are good enough to be marketable. It is in this context that this work was undertaken. In this study, we adopted an experimental approach to evaluate the mechanical properties of this species exploited in southeast Cameroon. We then studied the variations in these properties as a function of tree age in order to propose leads for their exploitation. Thus, the compression and bending tests allowed us to estimate the relationship between the mechanical properties in three main directions of the log (MOE in compression and bending, failure stress in compression and bending, and creep in compression) and age (or diameter). We also used the 10-hour creep under low axial compressive loading data to implement the theoretical fractional Maxwell (MF) model, which was compared to the experimental data. For this purpose, after three months of natural drying in the laboratory, we evaluated the above mechanical properties according to age. This study shows that the mechanical properties change as the diameter increases and change very quickly from 70 cm diameter upwards. From the analysis of the experimental data, we deduced that the minimum diameter of exploitable trees should be equal to 80 cm corresponding to the age of about 200 years.