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Fire testing available at FPRDI
February 15, 2012

Building contractors: do you know whether your structures are resistant to fire or not? You could be more competitive if you did. A fire testing facility is available at the Department of Science and Technology’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) that tests how far a material will last when subjected to various heat levels.

The laboratory conforms to the fire testing standards stipulated under ASTM and British Standards. “Usually, building contractors have their structures fire-tested so they can be more competitive in the market,” explained For. Catalino Pabuayon, Senior Science Research Specialist at FPRDI’s Wood Preservation Section. ”FPRDI certifies how long a material will stand heat,” Pabuayon added.

FPRDI lab tests pre-fab walls
February 1, 2012

In a country like the Philippines where earthquakes and typhoons are inevitable, it is crucial that housing and building structures are strong enough to withstand intense shakes and blows. Good thing though that the strength of prefabricated walls can now be examined thru the Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s (FPRDI) full-size wall testing facility.

The fully automated wall-testing facility assesses the behavioral responses of wall specimens when subjected to simulated performance tests. Results can be readily seen in a computer.

Designed especially for timber-framed walls, the facility can measure the compressive and shear strength of prefab walls. “The compression test shows how much load the wall can support even in the absence of a beam. This is important for structural walls,” said Dr. Rico J. Cabangon, Chief of the Institute’s Engineered Products Development Section.

Shear test, on the other hand, examines the strength of the wall when a load is applied from its side. “This can determine the wall specimen’s resilience to earthquakes,” Cabangon added.

The facility is the country’s first and only state-of-the-art wall testing laboratory that is government-owned. “With its establishment, local prefab wall manufacturers need not send their materials abroad for testing. This will mean lesser cost for them. The facility also aims to aid the manufacturers in further developing their products based on the information from the tests,” stressed Cabangon.

Established in 2004, the FPRDI wall testing facility was a brainchild of former FPRDI director Dr. Florence Soriano and was funded by the DOST Grants-in-Aid thru the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development. Plans are underway to upgrade it to suit the testing of concrete and steel prefab walls. ### (Apple Jean C. Martin. 18 January 2012)

Bantay Kalikasan meets with For. Ella
January 31, 2012

Ms. Gina L. Lopez, Managing Director of ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.’s Bantay Kalikasan (BK) met last 13 January 2012 with FPRDI Scientist Arsenio B. Ella to discuss the possibility of working with the Institute in setting up almaciga resin enterprises in Brooke’s Point, Palawan. A well-known environmentalist, Lopez envisions a project that will improve the livelihood of indigenous people in the area.

Almaciga resin, or Manila copal in world trade, is an important dollar earner for the country. It is harvested from the bark of the almaciga (Agathis philippinensis Warb.) tree and used in manufacturing paints, varnishes, printing ink, shoe polish, patent leather, floor wax and linoleum. The tree is found in the country’s remaining forested mountains, but is especially abundant in Palawan.