Samuel V. Glass
Samuel V. GlassBuilding and Fire Sciences
Research Physical Scientist
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
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Wood structures can endure for centuries if they remain sufficiently dry. Many of the challenges of using wood as a structural material (such as mold growth, wood decay, corrosion of fasteners, and dimensional instability) arise from excessive moisture levels or large changes in moisture content.Dr. Glass leads the Building Moisture and Durability Team within the Building and Fire Sciences Research Work Unit at the Forest Products Laboratory. His research focuses on the relationships between moisture, energy-efficiency, and durability in residential and non-residential wood-based buildings. Primary research objectives include
- Durability of energy-efficient buildings
- Building envelope performance
- Moisture management in buildings
- Heat, air, and moisture transfer
- Wood-moisture relations
- Hygrothermal properties of wood products
- Interior and exterior moisture loads
- Instrumentation for monitoring moisture levels in building assemblies
Dr. Glass conducted his doctoral research in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He investigated how surfactant films at the gas-liquid interface control gas uptake and evaporation of water. These studies contributed to understanding chemical reactions that occur in sulfuric acid droplets in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, which affect ozone levels.
The sustainability and health of America's forests depend on sound conservation practices, including utilization. Efficient use of wood as a green building material is important for climate change mitigation because wood products store carbon for as long as the building exists. The longer the service life, the greater the benefit. Wood products require much less energy to process than other building materials such as steel or concrete, and use of wood produces less air pollution, solid wastes, and greenhouse gases. Efficient wood utilization also reduces the risk and impacts of wildfire, provides incentives for private landowners to maintain forest land, and provides a critical source of jobs in rural America. These benefits hinge on efficient and proper use of wood in construction, and moisture control is essential because of wood's vulnerability to moisture problems. Moisture management is also critical because excessive dampness in buildings has been linked to negative health effects.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. Physical Chemistry , 2005
- Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, B.A. Chemistry/Classical Civilization/Archaeology , 1998
- Research Physical Scientist, USDA Forest Products Laboratory 2005 - Current
- Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Chemistry 2001 - 2005
- Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Chemistry 1999 - 2001
- Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST), Member (2008 - Current)
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Member Research Subcommittee Chair and Voting Member, Technical Committee (TC) 4.4, Building Materials and Building Envelope Performance. Secretary, Vice Chair, and Voting Member, Standing Standard Project Committee (SSPC) 160, Criteria for Moisture-Control Design Analysis in Buildings. Voting Member, TC 1.12, Moisture Management in Buildings. (2005 - Current)
|Publication Year: 2019|
Highlight ID: 1323
|Development of New Kinetics Models for Water Vapor Sorption in Wood|
Wood is constantly exchanging water with its environment and these exchanges control nearly all of wood's amazing properties. Research has recently shown that this process is still not understood and old models that were thought to explain these proc ...
Highlight ID: 1328
|Keeping Wood-Frame Housing Safe and Warm|
Is it okay to add exterior insulation (covering the wood sheathing) in order to make your home even more energy-efficient? FPL researchers investigate under what conditions this is safe. ...
Highlight ID: 1330
|Monitoring Moisture Levels in Mass Timber Buildings|
Detailed measurements on moisture levels in mass timber buildings in the United States are scarce. Researchers are working with Colorado School of Mines to monitor conditions in mass timber buildings in three different U.S. climates. ...
|Publication Year: 2018|
Highlight ID: 1313
|Improving the Accuracy of Automated Instruments for Moisture in Wood|
Automated instruments are increasingly used for measuring the equilibrium moisture content of wood. Research finds that common methods have much larger errors than claimed in the literature, so researchers developed a method to improve accuracy. ...
Highlight ID: 1312
|Updating a Building Design Standard with Improved Criteria for Preventing Mold Growth|
A consensus standard for building design that addresses moisture control analysis was recently revised to improve the criteria for preventing mold growth. ...
|Publication Year: 2017|
Highlight ID: 1292
|Improving experimental techniques that probe wood-moisture interactions|
Prior methods using dynamic vapor sorption instruments mischaracterized the equilibrium moisture content of wood. Equilibrium is reached after much longer times than previously claimed. This project provides a basis for methods that improve accuracy ...
Highlight ID: 1282
|Scientists study how water changes wood|
Water causes a host of wood damage mechanisms such as mold, decay, fastener corrosion, and splitting. This research elucidates how water changes wood and leads to these wood damage mechanisms. ...
|Publication Year: 2015|
Highlight ID: 617
|Managing Moisture in Energy-efficient Wall Systems|
Moisture durability is critical for design and construction of energy-efficient buildings. Field measurements of moisture characteristics for highly insulated walls in mixed-humid climates are lacking. Researchers from the Forest Service's Forest Pro ...
|Publication Year: 2014|
Highlight ID: 581
|Possibilities and Pitfalls of Computer Simulation for Building Moisture Analysis|
Moisture problems are much less expensive to correct in the building design phase than after the building is constructed. Computer-based simulation tools allow designers to gauge the risk of moisture problems. Although simulation can be useful as a d ...
|Publication Year: 2013|
Highlight ID: 439
|Wood Construction Goes Beyond Its Traditional Roots|
As interest in sustainable building options continues to grow. Wood construction is going beyond its traditional roots in housing and expanding into mid-rise, high-rise, and non-residential applications. To support this trend, a new U.S. guide for th ...
|Publication Year: 2011|
Highlight ID: 286
|Moisture Control in Crawl Spaces in Louisiana|
Builders and homeowners in the Gulf Region often ask how to insulate a crawl space to avoid moisture problems. The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), in cooperation with Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, monitored conditions in a dozen h ...
|Publication Year: 2010|
Highlight ID: 154
|A percolation model for water and electrical conduction in wood with implications for durability|
Recently, researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory and University of Wisconsin have developed a new model of electrical conduction in wood that provides a good fit to experimental data, offers insight into the mechanism of conduction, and integr ...
Highlight ID: 170
|Centennial Edition, Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material|
The Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material serves as a primary reference document for a wide variety of users-from the general public through architects and design engineers who use wood in highly engineered structures. ...
Highlight ID: 153
|Modeling indoor humidity in homes|
Indoor humidity levels in a home influence not only occupant comfort and indoor air quality but also the durability of the building, especially in cold climates. Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory undertook a critical assessment of the lit ...
|Paper Poised to Fill New Gaps as Insulation:|
Buildings account for 40% of energy usage in the United States. In a world that stresses increased levels of responsible energy use, ensuring that new and existing construction is as efficient as possible will be vital to meeting our nation's sustainability goals. Wood has long been the material of ...
|January is National Radon Action Month:|
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over and here in Wisconsin, the weather is cold. Our doors and windows are closed, and that’s one of the first steps in getting good results from a radon test...
|What Can Be Done to Promote Long Service Life from Wood?|
Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries provides many helpful tips for the homeowners...
|Tips for Protecting Other Wood Structures|
According to Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries, the same principles of decay that are applicable to buildings also apply to wooden decks, fences, boardwalks, pergolas, gazebos, planters, and playground structures...
|Does Painting Protect from Wood Decay?|
Carol Clausen and Samuel Glass tell us about another easy and inexpensive trick for preserving your building projects in Build Green: Your Wood Can Last for Centuries. Coatings that form a moisture-impervious film are effective in preventing decay if the seal where two pieces of wood are joined is k...
|Keeping Wood Dry Isn't Always Enough:|
Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries by Carol Clausen and Samuel Glass tells us that most wood-decay problems only occur when decay fungi grow in wet wood. But one kind of fungus is uniquely capable of transporting its own water from a source of moisture (usually soil) into wood that is typical...
|Condensed Moisture-Another Source of Wood Decay|
Build Green: Wood Can Last for Decades warns the homeowner of yet another danger: moisture that can condense, accumulate in wood, and lead to decay in walls, attics, and crawl spaces.The causes of this condensation are a source of moisture, a way for moisture to be transported into wood, and a lack ...
|Wood Decay from Water Flowing off the Roof|
In Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries, Carol Clausen and Sam Glass write about yet another way that moisture decays wood. Many decay problems are caused by roof construction that does not allow rain to move off the roof and away from the house. In some houses, water flow over the roof is inter...
|Rain Seepage--Another Source of Wood Decay|
Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries by Carol Clausen and Sam Glass tells about how rain seepage can cause wood decay. Decay frequently occurs in joints, where boards or beams are joined together, while the rest of the structure remains sound. One reason is that water gets trapped in the joints....
|Investigating Historic Wood Moisture Data|
Wood and water have a delicate relationship. For over a century, the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) has provided data on how wood products and moisture interact under various conditions. This includes equilibrium moisture content (EMC) values of wood for given temperature and relative humidity con...
In Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries, Carol Clausen and Sam Glass remind readers that moisture causes wood to decay, and another source of moisture that the homeowner must guard against is frequent rains...
|Opportunity Knocks…on Wood|
Research at FPL often works toward moving new or improved wood products into mainstream use. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is one such product. CLT is a solid panel made of bonded layers of lumber intended for roof, floor, or wall applications. It is a highly “green” material made from an abund...
|Protecting Wood Buildings from Moisture Damage|
Protecting wood against moisture damage is key to long-lasting durability for wood structures. In "Build Green: Wood can last for Centuries," FPL wood-protection experts Carol Clausen and Samuel Glass explain why wood decays and how homeowners can best protect against moisture-related damage...