Sustainable Construction with Home Grown Timber - An approach to optimise structural performance of Cross-laminated timber (CLT) by effective use of the UK timber

   School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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  Dr A Khokhar, Dr R Hairstans  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Cross-laminated timber is an engineered wood product, consisted of solid timber boards (lamella) stacked perpendicularly and glued in layers resulting in massive structural floor and wall panels. CLT provides an improved structural and dimensional stability, much better strength and stiffness properties compared to conventional timber and it has become increasingly popular as an alternative sustainable building material to reinforced concrete and steel for low to high-rise buildings. The structural performance of CLT as a building material primarily depends on the strength class and type of timber species used for the lamella, the lay-ups and geometry of the lamella, the type of timber (softwood and hardwood) and the manufacturing process [1–3]. Considering the structural applications and to meet the desired necessity of the domestic timber industry, researchers have been investigating the utilisation of home-grown timber for the fabrication of CLT all over the world [2–4]. In this regard, research investigation has been conducted at Edinburgh Napier University [5] to examine the feasibility of Scottish home-grown timber for CLT fabrication primarily focusing on commercially available softwood species. The outcome reported that there is further research required to study the effects of mixed resource, strength grade and geometrical configurations of lamellas to further optimise the structural performance of home-grown CLT. Therefore, this proposed work is working towards this goal. This research work will also further investigate the potential to use home-grown hardwood as there is limited information on its viability for use with a particular emphasis on mixed softwood and hardwood CLT to maximise utilisation. The aim is to develop and conduct a research investigation, experimental and numerical based, to evaluate and enhance the structural performance of home-grown CLT by optimising the geometrical configurations of the lamella and variations in strength classes of different timber species within the CLT layers.

To achieve the research aim, an intensive laboratory-oriented experimental work will be conducted and influence of uniformity of strength class, symmetrical and asymmetrical strength classes of the same and different species of softwood and hardwood will be determined. The effects of cross-section size, layer thickness and orientations of lamella and width to thickness ratio of laminations will also be investigated. Finite element modelling (FEM) based parametric study will be carried out to understand the key mechanisms for optimising the use of home grown timber of CLT production. Results from modelling and experimental works will assist in developing models of CLT panels that can provide optimised structural performance. Further experimental work will then be conducted to fabricate the optimised CLT panels and these will be tested to obtain their stiffness and strength properties.

The proposed research intends to provide an in-depth understanding of structural performance of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) fabricated from Scottish/UK timber. It can be stated that the research has substantial potential and could be very beneficial for the research community of timber engineering as well as the construction industry. The knowledge from this research will assist Scottish /UK industry professionals in fabricating optimised CLT structural members that are manufactured from home-grown timber.

Academic qualifications

A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in Civil Engineering with a good fundamental knowledge of timber engineering.

English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:

  • Experience of fundamental in conducting laboratory tests
  • Competent in structural analysis, structural dynamics and structural mechanics
  • Knowledge of timber as engineering material, design and test Standards (e.g. Eurocode)
  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
  • Good time management

Desirable attributes:

  • Knowledge of timber floor construction, design and structural behaviour

For enquiries about the content of the project, please email Dr Aamir Khokhar [Email Address Removed] 

For information about how to apply, please visit our website

To apply, please select the link for the PhD Computing FT application form

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Engineering (12)


[1] Karacebeyli E, Douglas B. CLT Handbook -US Edition. Quebec, Canada: PInnovations and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, Point-Claire; 2013. [
2] Sharifnia H, Hindman DP. Effect of manufacturing parameters on mechanical properties of southern yellow pine cross laminated timbers. Construction and Building Materials 2017;156:314–20.
[3] Pang S-J, Jeong GY. Effects of combinations of lamina grade and thickness, and span-to-depth ratios on bending properties of cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor. Construction and Building Materials 2019;222:142–51.
[4] He M, Sun X, Li Z. Bending and compressive properties of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels made from Canadian hemlock. Construction and Building Materials 2018;185:175–83. ttps://
[5] Plowas W. Research into Mass Timber Systems - Cross Laminated Timber. Edinburgh: 2019.

 About the Project