Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Wood Properties
Name: Timothy
Status: Student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

I am a student enrolled at Central Connecticut State University in the Civil Engineering Program. At my last college i was involved in an honor's project which has extended into the summer months. It involves the complete design of a 60ft pedestrian bridge for a proposed Central Massachusetts Rail Trail System. We have decided to make the deck of the bridge native red oak (rough sawn).

My question is, where on-line can I research native red oak structural properties; ie, bending stresses, shear stresses, dimensions, mounting options, etc. I have searched over and over again and have found nothing. Any suggestions?

This may not answer your question exactly, but it may lead you to something that can. I do not know if any of the following will have specific information on the particular wood you are contemplating using, but it is worth a try.

A.You may want to consult a textbook on timber construction (under the general heading of civil engineering).
B. Try the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, located at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, IL (try A second place might be the Corps technical excellence center at the Omaha, NE Engineer district (also locatable via the Corps general webpage address just given).
C. Try the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison campus forest products research group. Try finding them via
D. Try contacting any large commercial lumber company like Weyerhauser in the Northwest, or Georgia-Pacific, or Boise Cascade, etc.
E. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Manual, I believe has a section on lumber properties because they are used for wood construction design, etc.
F. Try a Civil Engineering Handbook of the type engineers use for general reference purposes (possible sections would be wood design, stresses in lumber, etc). A good reference librarian can help you locate one online.
G. Try a good materials science department library at places like MIT or the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, Tufts Univ. in Boston, etc.

Hope this helps a little.

Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory