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Laminated Wood Puts A Curve in Ark Design

by Ark Encounter on March 9, 2015

Glulam, short for glued laminated timber, is a type of structural product comprising a number of layers of timber bonded together using a durable, moisture-resistant structural adhesive. A Greenville, Alabama, company that specializes in glulam is taking smaller pieces of timber and laminating them into single large, strong, structural members that will be used for the curved shapes we need for the Ark. You may have seen glulam in church auditoriums where they are used for vertical columns or horizontal beams, as well as curved, arched shapes.

Glulam is the perfect choice for the Ark since there are so few old-growth forests left in the United States. The large glulam members can be produced from a variety of smaller trees harvested from second- and third-growth forests. So instead of solid-sawn timbers of old-growth trees, we can get the same strength and versatility without the waste of a beautiful old tree, and we do not have to worry about the negative impact of knots and other defects more common in the older wood.

Glulam beams are of high strength and stiffness and can span large distances allowing for more design flexibility than with traditional timber construction. Basically, the only constraints on the size of a beam is transporting it and handling it. Here are some photos taken from the plant in Alabama. You could say that the Ark is making an economic impact in southern Alabama, too!

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