Tengfei’s wooden determination to build strength in Aussie timber research


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Tengfei Yi

A Chinese research student has chosen USC as his top pick over research institutions around the world to undertake his Doctor of Philosophy in Wood Processing, based at the National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life.

Tengfei Yi is the first research student to come to USC on a Chinese Government Scholarship and will dedicate the next three years to developing ways to improve the outdoor durability of wood.

The 26-year-old said he had a lot of choice in where he could complete his doctorate but chose USC for the opportunity to study under globally respected academic, Professor Jeff Morrell.

“Professor Morrell is a top international expert on wood protection and wood biology and his research field is similar to my previous major study subject and research work,” Tengfei said.

“USC has an excellent research team and the newly established National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life is already an advanced international research institute. It has all the necessary conditions for my research.”

Tengfei’s research will specifically look at developing new coatings to better protect wood in harsh climates such as Australia.

“It is well known that the UV radiation in Australia is very strong which makes wood surfaces susceptible to discoloration that shortens its service life,” Tengfei said.
“The aim of my research is to develop multifunctional coatings that enhance the UV resistance, water repellence and bio-resistance of wood surfaces.”
Professor Jeff Morrell, who is also the Director of the National Centre, said the facility is committed to attracting the world’s best in timber research.

“We hope that recruiting Australian researchers will contribute to a re-energising of timber durability research within our own country,” Professor Morell said.

“Attracting overseas researchers, like Tengfei, helps us to build a network of global collaborators in a broader, international effort to improve timber performance.”

The National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life was launched in 2016 and has been operational for eight months. The Centre is a collaboration between USC, University of Queensland, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Forest and Wood Products Australia.

The Centre also offers research scholarships to highly motivated students interested in pursuing PhD studies in wood deterioration and its prevention. 

For more information visit https://www.usc.edu.au/learn/what-will-i-pay/scholarships/research-scholarships/national-centre-for-timber-durability-and-design-life-scholarship

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