Assessment of Reuse Potential of Maritime Pine Utility Poles for Structural Applications after Removal from Service

André Filipe Silva Marques, Carlos Eduardo Jesus Martins, Alfredo Manuel Pereira Geraldes Dias, Ricardo Joel Teixeira Costa, Telmo Filipe Marques Morgado


There has been a strong recent effort to develop procedures that prevent the unnecessary replacement of timber utility poles. Even when assessments show that the utility pole needs to be replaced, there are many cases in which the removed utility poles can be reused. The aim of this study was to determine the mechanical properties of Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster (Ait.)) utility poles removed from service (UPRFS) in order to assess their ability to be reused in structural applications. A sample of 51 UPRFS in Portugal was selected, and visual and mechanical properties were evaluated through non-destructive and destructive tests. Dynamic modulus of elasticity (MOEdyn) was correlated with bending strength (MOR) (r = 0.43) and modulus of elasticity (MOE) (r = 0.71). UPRFS showed a decrease of 14% and 6% in the mean values of MOR and MOE, respectively, when compared with new utility poles. A high variability and low values were obtained for MOR. These results highlight the reuse potential of the maritime pine utility poles for structural applications. Furthermore, the determined properties of UPRFS could be improved with a more stringent selection process that discards utility poles showing severe damage or by removing damaged areas in the utility poles.


Timber utility poles; Maritime pine; Structural reuse; Mechanical properties; Bending test

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