Research Output

Optimisation of an oak container

  Traditional containers such as barrels, used in the transportation and storage of food and liquid, have been constructed from timber for thousands of years. The design of the container has evolved over time and the original design specifications have not altered until recent times. Changing and challenging demands in the storage of barrels with respect to increased loading applied in a non-traditional direction has led to a need for the optimisation of the structure's integrity. Warehousing of timber barrels in modern industry utilises palletising techniques made possible by advances in transportation technology, such as forklift trucks. In-turn, this has placed a modern day requirement for the barrel to withstand additional and non-traditional loading within a palletised system. Consequently, under load, the curved timber of the barrel has a stress concentration generated about the mid-line, leading to concerns regarding structural integrity. The six supporting hoops of the barrel are traditionally used for maintaining shape and retention performance. However, under the new loading conditions of palletisation, they absorb the stress as the barrel displaces, reducing the stress concentration about the mid-line, up to the ultimate loading of the timber. The effect of hoop arrangements on structural integrity during palletised loading has been investigated using FEM to establish the optimal orientation with the aim of increasing the overall stiffness of the structure. Experimental validation of the optimal hoop locations about the cask established in the FEM environment has been conducted. The experimental investigation compares modified and unmodified barrels with respect to their limiting stress conditions, comparative stiffness' and curvature displacement magnitudes.

  • Date:

    21 June 2010

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    624 Civil engineering


Savage, N., Kermani, A., & Zhang, H. (2010). Optimisation of an oak container. In Proceedings of the 10th World Conference on Timber Engineering



Barrels; Timber; Finite Element Analysis; Structural integrity

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