The National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently announced the recipients of $90 million in funding through the agency’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Sustainable Agriculture Systems program.
The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) is a main collaborator in a project lead by West Virginia University’s Jingxin Wang. The project, “Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Biomass for Value-added Products Consortium (MASBio)” was awarded $10 million over five years to deliver a sustainable and economically feasible biomass for value-added products system in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
The Forest Products Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) have a history of collaboration aimed at making electronic components from wood. From flexible electronic screens to computer chips, this partnership has produced fascinating results. Learn more about the latest development in the following article from the UW.
Critical communications component made on a flexible wooden film
By Jason Daley
In the not-too-distant future, flexible electronics will open the door to new products like foldable phones, tablets that can be rolled, paper-thin displays and wearable sensors that monitor health data. Developing these new bendy products, however, means using materials like new plastics and thin films to replace the rigid circuit boards and bulky electronic components that currently occupy the interiors of cell phones and other gadgets.
The XyloTron, a Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)-developed, field-deployable digital imaging device for wood, is having a positive impact on timber industries worldwide.
In 2018, a Ghanaian wood identification expert and three inspectors from the country’s Timber Industry Development Division, spent time at FPL learning how to use the Xylotron so they could train others to use the equipment when they returned home.
This recently released video tells the story of how the device is now being used in Ghana, where more than two million people earn their living in the wood and timber industry.
In celebration of 110 years of research at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), we are revisiting blog posts that detail some of our most interesting historic people, places, and projects. Enjoy!
Forest Product Laboratory (FPL) researchers established selection and testing procedures for determining strength properties of wood, which were adopted as standards by ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM). These standards have, in recent years, had an important bearing on the development of comprehensive international standards sponsored by the Committee on Mechanical Wood Technology of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Strength testing research conducted by FPL employees included the following categories:
Toughness Testing FPL developed a machine to test the ability of wood to absorb shock or impact loads. The toughness test procedure and machine have become standard both nationally and internationally.
Strength Factors The staff determined the effect that knots, preservative treatment, decay, moisture content, and other factors have on wood strength. This work has resulted in increased safety, marked improvement in efficiency, and increased satisfaction in wood use.
Low Temperatures FPL carried out research at temperatures as low as -300°F, which showed that—far from becoming weak and brittle at low temperatures—wood actually gets stronger. This data established wood’s advantages for construction in frigid areas and have helped established new uses for wood, such as structural insulation in commercial barges that provide low-cost, world-wide transportation for liquid methane.
Decayed Wood FPL evaluated the properties of Douglas-fir lumber cut from timber infected with a fungus called white pocket, to show how it could be used effectively. As a result, Douglas-fir sheathing and dimension grades are permitted to contain certain amounts of white pocket. Over-mature timber previously left in the woods can now be harvested and used more effectively.
Long-Term Loading Effects Most strength testing of wood reveals the reaction of wood to the application of loads over a very short time. Most wood used in structures however is expected to carry load for long periods of times. The FPL has therefore carried out long-term loading experiments to develop data to support engineers and design professionals.
In late June of 2010 Bonnie Woodward went missing. An acquaintance, Roger Carroll, was an early suspect for her assumed murder but police found no evidence of any crime, and never found her body. For nearly eight years she remained missing and the case went cold. It was only after Roger Carroll admitted to his wife that he had killed Woodward that critical new information came to light.
A witness claimed Carroll shot Woodward at his rural Jersey County, Illinois, home, burned her remains in a huge brush pile that he stoked for several days, then used a tractor to push all the evidence – or so he thought – into a creek. Carroll was taken into custody in April of 2018 and charged with first-degree murder.