FPL materials research engineer Joseph Jakes and FPL Pathways intern Nayomi Plaza were recently featured in the University of Wisconsin’s College of Engineering annual report for their work studying moisture-induced swelling and adhesive bonding to wood cells.
Jakes and Plaza visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory in July, 2013, to perform small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments.
“SANS experiments are providing new insights into how the nanostructure of wood swells with moisture,” says Jakes. “The aim is to develop wood adhesives with improved moisture durability.”
Nanotechnology works with the smallest of the small, manipulating matter between 1 and 100 nanometers in size, and shows huge promise by developing new uses for low-grade woody biomass, among many other applications. Removing low-value wood from overcrowded forests through accelerated forest restoration projects helps reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire. Creating new uses for woody biomass through advances in wood technology at the nanoscale, for example, provides economic incentives to develop innovative markets for wood.
Plaza’s work is supported by the Cooperative Research Program for Covered Timber Bridges through the Federal Highway Administration/FPL.