Short Guide to Plywood
A typical plywood panel has face veneers of a higher grade than the core veneers. The principal function of the core layers is to increase the separation between the outer layers where the bending stresses are highest, thus increasing the panel's resistance to bending. As a result, thicker panels can span greater distances under the same loads. In bending, the maximum stress occurs in the outermost layers, one in tension, the other in compression. Bending stress decreases from the maximum at the face layers to nearly zero at the central layer. Shear stress, by contrast, is higher in the center of the panel, and at the outer fibres.
Plywood is a material designed and manufactured from thin layers or plies of wood veneer that are glued together. Plywood is also known as ply or plyboard and is widely used in construction. Ply sheet is manufactured in three or more thin layers based on the thickness and requirement.
How is plywood manufactured?
Types of plywood
- Structural plywood
Structural plywood sheet is used on places where high strength is required like for beams, bracing panels and formworks. They are mostly used in permanent structures where strength is needed. Structural ply is superior to all other types because of its strength, high quality and density.
- Marine plywood
Marine plywood is manufactured from durable face and core veneers. It was specially designed to perform better in wet and humid conditions to resist delaminating and fungal attack.
- Hardwood plywood
Hardwood plywood is made out of wood from dicot trees likes beech, oak, and mahogany. Hardwood ply is well-known for its stiffness, strength and resistance. Its high impact resistance and strength makes it suitable for heavy-duty floors and wall structure.
- Softwood plywood
Softwood plywood is usually made of either Douglas fir, cedar or SPF (Spruce, pine, and fir) or redwood and is specially manufactured and used for commercial, industrial or construction purposes. The most common size of ply is 1.2 meters by 2.4 meters. Depending on the thickness and grade of the plywood the number of plies may vary.
- Birch plywood
Manufactured from various thin layers of birch veneers of the same thickness, glued and placed in alternating directions to gain the required thickness. Birch plywood has excellent strength and is more stable and appealing than that of standard plyboard. Birch plywood is suitable for a wide range of applications like the floor, cabinets, tables, drawer cabinets, and more.
- Flexible plywood
Flexible plywood is also known as Flexiply or Bendy plywood. Flexible ply is a high-quality bendable sheet material. These are specially designed to cater to various shapes, bends and curves as required by the customers and architects. Flexible plyboard is highly recommended by designers and architects for freestanding curves and other frameworks to develop a wide range of smooth curved surfaces for ceilings, spaces, columns and walls.
- Other plywoods
Other types of plywood include Pressure-treated plywood, moisture resistant, fire resistant plywood, and wire mesh. These types of plywood sheets are treated with various chemicals to improve the fireproofing and strength of the plyboard. All these types of ply are of high-quality and are specially designed to fill a need in the construction industry.
What are the properties of plywood?
Plywood has various properties which makes it one of the most popular construction materials.
- High strength
Plywood combines the structural strength of timber from which it is manufactured, with the property obtained from its laminated design. Cross graining of the plies allows the sheet to resist spitting and increase the strength uniformly over the board to increase the stability of the board.
Specially designed plywood is very flexible and bendy as it can be manufactured at pretty much any given thickness. Flexible plywood is used for curved surfaces like the internal wall and skateboard ramps.
- Moisture resistant
Plywood is generally resistant to humidity and moisture due to the adhesive used to bond in the binding process. This resistance to moisture and humidity makes it suitable for exterior use like cladding, sheds and in marine constructions.
- Fire resistant
Certain layers of chemicals and additives are applied to the ply to increase the fire resistance of the plywood.
- Chemical resistant
While manufacturing plywood it is treated with preservatives which makes it resistant to corrosion when exposed to chemicals.
- Impact resistance
Cross lamination of plies gives plywood high tensile strength which makes it resistant to high impact and resists spitting.
The high quality of thermal and acoustic insulation provided by plywood sheet makes it suitable for roof, walls, ceilings and floors. An extra layer of insulation can be used for better insulation.
- Water Boil Proof (wbp) Plywood
WBP plyboard is an ultimate solution in extreme weather conditions. Wbp plywood is referred to as “Weather and boil proof Ply” or “water and boil proof plywood” and is used to determine the water-resistance of the ply.
Common uses of Plywood
- External walls
- Structural systems
- Stud wall
- Suspended ceilings
- Light doors
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