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Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Partners - University of Idaho

Fact sheet


University of Idaho The University of Idaho was established in 1889, and is a publicly supported, comprehensive, land-grant institution, offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. The university is the state's primary institution for graduate research, and is classified as a doctoral / research intensive institution by the Carnegie Commission. The primary areas of statewide responsibility, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, are agriculture, architecture, engineering, forestry and wildlife, mining and metallurgy, foreign languages and law.

The Moscow campus and adjacent farms cover almost 800 acres; other university lands, including the nearby university farms and experimental forest, exceed 10,000 acres. To assist with its statewide mission, the university maintains university centers in Coeur d'Alene, Boise, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls, extension offices in 42 of Idaho's 44 counties, research and extension centers in Sandpoint, Moscow, Parma, Caldwell, Kimberly, Aberdeen, Salmon, Tetonia, and Dubois, and field stations at McCall, Point Springs, and the Taylor Ranch in central Idaho. The university operates a research park in Post Falls , and a small-business incubator and specialty food processing facility in Caldwell , and is a partner in a business incubator in Moscow.

Nearly 13,000 students attend the University of Idaho . There are some 550 faculty members in teaching and research and 1,500 staff and professional personnel. In its 115-year history, the University of Idaho has granted nearly 90,000 degrees to students.

The resources of the University of Idaho are augmented by those of Washington State University located in Pullman, Washington , some eight miles west of Moscow. The physical proximity, unique among the nation's land-grant institutions, allows both universities opportunities for cooperation. Many University of Idaho and Washington State University courses in a variety of disciplines are cross-listed so that students of both universities can register locally, pay resident fees, and attend classes on either campus.


University of Idaho participation in housing research through the Coalition for Advanced Housing and Forest Products Research is primarily conducted within the Department of Forest Products, located on the University of Idaho campus. Additional research is conducted in collaboration with the personnel and facilties of the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory (WMEL) at Washington State University, located eight miles to the west in Pullman, Washington.

Our specific research is focused on the enhancement of basic wood biomaterials for use in housing applications and covers three areas, including small diameter round timber (SDRT) utilization, wood quality, and wood composites.

Structurally graded round logs are cheaper to process than sawn products, may have high economic value, and can carry more load than an "equivalent" rectangular member. New visual and mechanical grading systems are being developed to maximize the potential use of SDRT as structural members.

The development and application of new wood products from alternative, or underutilized, species requires better knowledge of their characteristic qualities. This information can them be applied to a wide range of applications, including development of design values to lumber and timber, enhancement of wood properties for specific end-uses, and preparation of woody biomass for the production of composites, including wood-plastic composites.

Composites offer the opportunity to create engineered wood-based components with properties and characteristics optimized for specific end uses. Durability, strength, or other properties may be enhanced to meet application needs.

Research Facilities and Capabilities

Forest Products Department

Research in the Department of Forest Products on small diameter round timber, wood quality, and composites is supported by mechanical testing, chemical and x-ray analysis, and laboratory-scale processing of wood composites, lumber and other value-enhanced wood products. The Forest Products Department occupies 5760 square feet of space in the College of Natural Resources Building . This includes 3725 square feet of wood shop, laboratory space, and wet chemistry laboratory; 730 square feet of conditioning chambers and graduate student offices; and 995 square feet of faculty offices.

Equipment and facilities specific to our housing-related research include:

  • Machine and wood shops for preparation of wood samples, fixtures, and test setup components
  • 500 board-foot capacity dry kiln with high temperature (>100 C) capabilities
  • Two environmental chambers and two cold rooms (2 C and -8 C) for conditioning specimens Universal testing machine [Instron 5500R] with Bluehill software package
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometer, GC-MS [Finnigan PolarisQ]
  • Laboratory hot presses (30 cm x 30 cm) and (60 cm x 60 cm)
  • Solvent Extractors (heterogeneous phase) and ultra-filtration (Millipore) equipment
  • Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer (FTIR, ThermoNicolet Avatar370)
  • General wet chemistry laboratory plus balances, mills, ovens, furnaces and vacuum oven
  • Polarized light / fluorescence microscope with digital capture
  • X-ray tree ring analyzer (Quintek Measurement Systems)

Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory, Washington State University

The Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory (WMEL) is an interdisciplinary research facility administered through the College of Engineering and Architecture at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. The WMEL has conducted research for over five decades in collaboration with industry, government agencies, and other universities. The WMEL focuses on new building materials from a range of recycled and virgin resources, and develops innovative structural systems to effectively utilize new materials while maintaining economic viability and public safety.

Specific equipment and facilities at the WMEL include:

  • 35mm, 55mm, and 86mm conical twin screw extruders (Cincinnati Milacron)
  • 25mm single screw extruder
  • 2 profile cooling units (ConAir and Rollepaal-USA)
  • HPL/LPL resin impregnator and development system
  • X-ray verticle density profiler (Quintec QDP01X)
  • computer-controlled hydraulic presses with oil heated platens (4- by 8-ft., 3- by 3-ft.)
  • servo-hydraulic actuators with 22, 56, and 220 kip capacities (MTS)
  • servo-hydraulic axle test frames with 22 and 56 kip capacities with computer control and data acquisition (MTS)
  • 200 kip tension-testing machine
  • 500 kip reaction floor with two 7.5-ton overhead cranes
  • shake table (to simulate seismic loading)
  • 120 constant-load test frames (for time dependent behavior)
  • 2 and 30 kip electromechanical universal test machines with computer control and data acquisition

Staff and Contact Information

Department of Forest Products, University of Idaho

Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory, Washington State University