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The slab in wooden boards
International patent and registered trademark

Principle fundamental Structural Aspect Architectural Aspect Economic Aspect Physical and acoustic aspect Ecological aspect

Technical Description

1 1.1 1.2 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 3 3.1 4 4.1 5 5.1 5.2
5.2.1 5.2.2

GENERAL CONCEPT Presentation Principe Fundamental STRUCTURAL ASPECTS Predesign Behavior in case of fire load Analysis in case of fire load Behavior in case of earthquake ARCHITECTURAL ASPECT A very punchy aspect ECONOMIC ASPECT A simple concept PHYSICAL AND ACOUSTIC ASPECTS Building physics Acoustic Aspect
Airborne noise Impact noise

4 4 4 6 6 6 6 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9
10 13

6 6.1 6.2

ECOLOGICAL ASPECT Consumption, balance and proximity Wood from sustainable forests

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APPENDICES Appendix 1 : Renovation of a home, Ardennes (L) Appendix 2 : Center for handicaped persons, Origlio (CH, Tessin) Appendix 3 : National exposition in Switzerland, Expo 02

Technical description



1.1 Presentation
The O'portune1 timber slab is a new designed application in the scope of horizontal timber structures. It meets high mechanical requirements and achieves spans up to 12 m.

Principe Fundamental
The principle of O'portune timber slab is based on two ideas : First, the solid wood planks, coming directly from the sawmill, are nailed or screwed together shifted against each other in order to increase the static height. Common cross sections for the planks are used, such as 40/200 mm to 75/225 mm, with a common length of four or five meters. Based on a cross section of 75/225 mm, the static height can be extended from 225 mm to 375 mm, which gives an inertia for bending strength twice as high as the original. Secondly, in order to create a partial isotropic slab, which is more efficient to support concentrated live loads by stress diffusion in all directions, a LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) panel is screwed across the longitudinal plank axis. The LVL panel thickness is designed in function of the concentrated loads, optimizing the planks height. If the slab is subjected only to distributed loads the LVL panel can be replaced by an OSB (oriented strand board) panel. This kind of timber slab can be prefabricated in a carpentry hall and joined together to the final size at the construction site. The longitudinal joints provide a structural continuity, thus also bending moments above the supports can be taken, and a continuous monolithic structure is accomplished. Using compression hardwood pieces in the compression zones, the inferior planks, are reinforced. In the traction zones filling elements together with a more intensive screwed Kerto panel above reinforce the superior planks.

Copyright, invented by Jean-Luc Sandoz

The following pictures show offshore timber platforms on the lakes of Neuchtel and Bienne in Switzerland, erected in 2000. The planks with a cross section of 60/210 mm, are four and five meters long and covered with an LVL panel type Kerto Q 27 mm providing a free span of 6.10 m. Distributed load : 500 kg/m2 Punctual load (truck) : 4 x 75 kN + 300 kg/m2 distributed load

Figure 1 : Photos of the offshore platforms of the EXPO 02 in Switzerland based on O'portune desks of 6m span on iron posts. These platforms withstanded 30t trucks and 60t mobile cranes.

These platforms were employed for attractive architectural projects for the Swiss national exhibition: The Expo.02 that Switzerland organized in 2002. Altogether, for the two platforms 10000 m3 of sawn planks, 1200 m3 of Kerto and more than two millions of screws were employed. The entire platform is dismantled after the event, in 2003 and all timber materials will be re-used in classical constructions.

Figure 2 : Example of the assembling of two prefabricated O'portune blocks of the Expo 02


Technical description



2.1 Predesign
The O'portune slab is dimensioned for different types of loads. The fundamental analyses calculate the deformations (instant and final) and bending stress. For housing application also the resonant frequency, which might be determinant. When the slab is designed the number, kind and repartition of connectors (screws or nails) will be determined after the sheer stress analysis in the composed section. The zone where the boards are crossed is of big importance for optimization reasons in regard of the disposal of the connectors, which might obtain a fire resistance of R60 or more.

Behavior in case of fire load

The system of the O'portune slabs with its central kern of 80 to 100mm is very fire resistant. With 60mm wide boards it reaches straight R60. When assuring that the void on the top of the slab is properly enclosed, these structures can achieve R90 or R120. The zone where the boards are crossed and the disposal of the connectors are designed to stay operant for the time of the fire attack. The different phases of combustion and the resting cross sections after 30min or 60min are shown and explained in the D-Dalle description (woodconcrete composite system)


Analysis in case of fire load

In case of accidental fire attack the analysis is achieved by considering 0,8 mm/mn combustion of the wooden parts (0.7 mm/mn when using DUO boards). The down-side boards are the first to carbonize until they reach the kern (zone where the up-side and down-side boards are doubled). With a kernal zone of 90mm, the fire resistance is at least 100min. The residual cross section like shown in figure 3 and 5 is analyzed for loads in case of fire (accidental situation). With this residual cross section and 15m span the bearing capacity of the slab is still of about 500 kg/m2 (350 kg/m2 of dead load and 150kg/m2 of live load) after 100min of combustion

Notice that the wooden part of the slab protects in case of fire from the bottom side the upside part and the concrete. Not only the concrete stays working, because of low temperatures, the slab also allows evacuations on the upside. The O'portune slab so acts as are fire barrier.

Figure 3 : Initial cross section of the O'portune standard slab

Figure 4 : Cross section after 30min combustion on the down-side part


Figure 5 : Cross section after 60min combustion on the down-side part. A new cross section is obtained which will be analyzed for the fire load

Technical description


2.4 Behavior in case of earthquake

The ideal behavior of the O'portune slab during an accidental earthquake exposure is guaranteed by a sliding bearing realized through : long screws which allow the construction a ductile behavior oval holes in the iron parts in the primary supporting structure



A very punchy aspect

The architectural feature of an O'portune slab in an interior is extremely expressive by the visible offset boards which create the ceiling. When the typical ceiling is systemized like for example in figure 6 the parameters defining its architecture are : The thickness of the boards The offset of the boards The finishing (natural or painted) of the boards Cuts near the bearings to realize negative cornices Indentation realized after motifs Hard wood insertions Integration of lights The type of boards (simple or finger jointed dimension lumber boards, DUO boards or alternating species for a natural zebra effect)

Figure 6 : Example for a ceiling obtained with an O'portune slab with the offset boards



A simple concept
The economy of the O'portune slab for great spans (8m 12m) is guaranteed by its basic concept which integrates the multi functionality of slab and ceiling and its lightness of 80 kg/m2 to 120 kg/m2, which allows to optimize the bearing reactions and further the design of the walls and foundations. Based on the use of dimension lumber boards and a system of very simple connectors the economy is guaranteed by : The cost of the wood (finished, built-in) from 500/m3 to 700/m3 according to requirements (i.e. 80/m2 to 120/m2) A pre fabrication of transportable slab partitions, a dry and fast placing (up to 500m2/day) and therefore a perfectly managed transfer. When an even more economic solution is required, the O'portune slab can be lightened by becoming partial with (O'portune-) beams made of five to seven boards filling 20 to 40% of the slab, the rest is being coffered (see description Solivium slab).



Building physics
Concerning the physical behavior of this slab, the mass of wood (ca. 0.2m3/m2) is very interesting for the thermal inertia of its volume. In winter, the wooden part works as an isolation against deep temperatures, while in summer it isolates against higher outside temperatures. As a flat roof this behavior is very favorable for the interior.


Acoustic Aspect
Moreover, wooden slabs used in simple housing are very sensible concerning acoustic phenomena, which have to be distinguished into airborne noise and impact noise.


Technical description


5.2.1 Airborne noise From one point of view, the profile of the slab is already a sound absorbing ceiling. Laboratory tests in completely reflecting halls have been effected at the Polytechnic University of Lausanne, Switzerland, with different profiles for the wooden part, simple or improved with an acoustic isolation. These are the three tested profiles : Model 1, the profile simple wood like shown in figure 7 :

Figure 7 : Profile of the O'portune slab without acoustic absorber tested for airborne noise

Model 2, the wooden profile with a band of rock wool (20mm) placed on the bottom side as shown in figure 8 :

Figure 8 : Profile of the O'portune slab improved with a band of isolating rock wool on the bottom side, tested for airborne noise

Model 3, the wooden profile with a band of rock wool (20mm) plus a hidden board as shown in figure 9

Figure 9 : Profile of the O'portune slab improved with a band of isolating rock wool on the bottom side and a coverage on the isolation, tested for airborne noise

The obtained results are shown in figure 10 and 12 where the value of absorption s ( Sabine) is given in function of the spectrum of frequencies.

Figure 10 : Acoustic performance of model 1 (no acoustic isolation)

Figure 11 : Acoustic performance of model 1 (with acoustic isolation)


Figure 12 : Acoustic performance of model 1 (with acoustic isolation and an additional board)

Technical description


Table 1 gives the values obtained for each type of frequency.

Table 1 : Absorption value for model 1 to 3 in function of frequency

It is remarkable that model 1 shows already superior behavior with an s from more than 0,3 in the frequency range from 550-1000Hz. This coefficient is raised to a value of more than 0,6 for the same frequency range for model 2. If the acoustic performance must settle even higher claims, the profile can be widened from closed type (figure 7) to open type (figure 10). This profile has a acoustic comportment equal to model 2 and 3.

Figure 13 : Cross section of an open O'portune

5.2.2 Impact noise For improving the acoustic comportment of the O'portune slab concerning impact noise, a multi layer spring system (mass-spring-mass) must be realized. Figure 14 shows a type of profile which integrates on the upside plane board an acoustic absorber (20 to 40mm, wood product (Pavatex,)), a stiff layer like a screed of 60 to 80mm (allowing to even integrate a floor heating system) and a final floor placed straight on the screed or on a felt. With this kind of composition the demands of new acoustic norms can be settled.

Figure 14 : Section of a O'portune slab with a hard- soft-hard system, which allows absorption and elimination of impact sound


Technical description



"Producing a 100m2 slab, with 10m free span, rather in wood than in reinforced concrete, that is about 30to less of CO2 in the atmosphere."

Consumption, balance and proximity

The O'portune slab has an extreme favorable balance regarding the two environmental criteria energy and CO2. In comparison to a reinforced concrete slab (concrete and steel), wood as being a storage of CO2 and the feedstock dimension lumber board having the lowest level of refinement, the energetic costs are very low, even nearly null, when considering that the chippings can be used for heating. Moreover its lightness allows to diminish vertical structures (walls) and foundations; always interesting from an energetic point of view.


Wood from sustainable forests

Wood used to construct O'portune slabs is not only local wood, but also with certified derivation and guaranteed traceability to assure that the wood is exploited from sustainable managed forests. Therefore the ecological labels are FSC, PEFC or Q+(for Switzerland).


Owner Architect Engineer


: Commune de Paliseul : Ch. Lievens : CBS

Exterior aspect

Slab with spruce boards from the Ardennes 42 x 218 mm with camber and bearings on iron profiles. Interior aspect before and during placing


General aspect after the placing of the slab with a free span of 12m and a length of 12m

Technical description - Appendices


Owner Architect Engineer Implementation


: Fattoria Otaf : Sven Pancera CH-Lugano : CBT, St-Sulpice : Xilema, Origlio (TI)

Placing of the slab on the timber frame

Interior aspect of the placed slab



: Expo 02