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


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Research Unit: Wood Preservation and Durability (4723)

Wood is an aesthetically pleasing, versatile material and valuable renewable resource. Vulnerability to biodeterioration, moisture, and fire are noteworthy limitations to the expected long service life of wood and can result in significant economic and resource loss.
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One of the surest ways to extend the available timber supply is by improving the durability of wood in use.

Research Focus Areas

  • Extending the service life of residential and nonresidential buildings through proper design and operation
    • Replacement of decayed wood resulting from moisture damage to homes consumes an estimated 10% of the annual U.S. timber harvest
  • Developing wood treatments to improve durability of wood products without adversely affecting the environment
    • Almost 400 million cubic feet of preservative-treated wood is produced and consumed in the United States annually
  • Formulating new sharply targeted inhibitors to protect wood products in service and prevent economic and resource loss from biodeterioration
    • Developing targeted preservative systems offers a way to control wood degrading organisms in an environmentally responsible manner
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Wood Preservation Treatment Plant
  • Split system for water- and oil-based treatments
  • Three circulation tanks heat and circulate chemicals to each vessel
  • System of pans hold smaller samples within the vessels to heat and circulate chemicals
    • Reduce chemical use and allow treatment of sample volumes significantly below the full capacity of each vessel
  • Fully automated and computer controlled
Equipment and Capabilities
  • Five pilot-scale pressure treatment cylinders
    • Water- and oil-based chemical treatments
    • Vessels hold 59, 170, or 940 gallons equivalent to 1,775, 3,500, or 13,050 pounds when filled
    • Temperatures up to 250°F with maximum pressure capabilities of 250 psi
  • Three work tanks, which hold 280 to 1,500 gallons reaching 3,750 to 17,600 pounds when filled
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