Title page for ETD etd-9297-173637


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Spradlin, Warren Edward II
Author's Email Address wspradli@vt.edu
URN etd-9297-173637
Title A Perceptional Comparison of Wood in Separate Infrastructure Markets
Degree Master of Science
Department Wood Science and Forest Products
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bush, Robert J.
Lamb, Fred M.
Smith, Robert L. Committee Chair
Keywords
  • Perceptions
  • Structures
  • Utility
  • Railroad
  • Waterway
  • Inland
  • Marine
  • Highway
  • Infrastructure
  • Wood
  • Factors
  • Materials
Date of Defense 1997-09-25
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Decision-makers involved in material choice decisions in

the United States infrastructure were surveyed to identify

factors which are important in the material choice decision

and to determine the perceptions of wood in various

infrastructure applications. This information led to the

development of strategies to increase the use of wood in

infrastructure markets across the US. The highway,

marine/inland waterway, railroad and utility systems

composed the four markets representing the US infrastructure.

A total of 2344 questionnaires were mailed nationwide.

The perceptions of wood were further defined through personal

interviews with 112 individuals in four geographically

dispersed states.

The most important factors in material choice decisions

were durability, maintenance and cost. Environmental impact,

ease of design and innovativeness of material were less

important in the material choice decision. Highway and

marine/inland waterway respondents perceived wood to be

among the lowest materials in overall performance. Railroad

and utility respondents perceived wood to have significantly

better overall performance than highway and marine/inland

waterway respondents.

Respondents perceived wood's advantages to be its

aesthetically pleasing appearance, low initial cost, ease in

repair and ease in field modification. They perceived the

disadvantages of wood to be high life-cycle costs, high

maintenance requirements and low biological decay resistance.

Several strategies are suggested to increase wood use in

infrastructure, including: greater market approach by the

wood products industry, improved timber structure design

details, and increased service life of wood through improved

chemical preservative treatments.

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