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Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Heat Treating Wooden Ammunition Pallets for Invasive Species

Revised Heat Treatment Schedules Reduce Degradation Associated with Heat Treatment of Wood Pallets

ID: FPL-043
All USDA Forest Service
2011 Research Highlights


  • Wood pallets serve as support for munitions loads and other military supplies transported within the continental U.S. and internationally.
  • Despite this integral transport function, wood pallets have been identified as a major pathway for the introduction and spread of non-native invasive insect species.
  • Heat sterilization regulations help mitigate invasive species threats but concerns have arisen regarding possible effects of heat treatment on wooden pallets in terms of strength and durability.
  • Green hardwood pallets undergoing treatment in heat chambers were emerging with various defects that exceeded specifications.

Overview: Working with the cooperators at the Department of Defense, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center; Forest Products Laboratory researchers have initiated a series of studies to investigate the causes of pallet degradation associated with heat treatments and to develop optimized heat treating procedures to alleviate the problems. Laboratory heating experiments and mechanical load testing of wooden ammunition pallets have provided evidence that heating medium (high temperature and low humidity) and manufacturing process have contributed to subsequent pallet defects. Further testing will be conducted in the field to verify the effectiveness of improved heat treating procedures for reducing pallet degradation.

Principal Investigator(s)

Ross, Robert J.

Supervisory Research Gen. Engineer

Wang, Xiping

Research Forest Products Technologist
Partnerships & Science Strategy Affiliations
Research Emphasis Area (FPL)Woody Biomass Utilization
US Forest Service PartnersNone
External PartnersDepartment of Defense Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center
Strategic Program Area (US Forest Service R&D)Invasive Species
Emerging Research Area (US Forest Service R&D)Bioenergy and Biobased Products
Significant Publications pertaining to this Research Highlight

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