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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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You are here: FPL Home  / Research  / Units  / Engineering Properties of Wood, Wood based Materials and Structures  / Research Emphasis Areas

Research Emphasis Areas

 

Current research projects currently being pursued by members of the Engineering Properties of Wood, Wood based Materials and Structures research unit:

fpl Project No: FPL-4714-1A
Title: Conducting foundation research aimed at developing information on the fundamental anatomical, physical/mechanical, and processing characteristics of wood.

Project Leader:
Ross, Robert J.Ross, Robert J.



Research Emphasis Area:
 Advanced Structures

fpl Overview:
Our researchers are constantly working to provide an extensive databank of information on wood from both foreign and domestic tree species. The three main areas of investigation are studying how wood quality affects its properties, gathering property data as input for analytical modeling of performance, and providing basic wood processing information to effectively manufacture wood products.

Examples of work in this area include gathering information on the effect of juvenile wood on the properties of softwood and hardwood species and overcoming the technical barriers to efficient drying of small-diameter trees to increase their use for solid-sawn wood products by both small community-based industries as well as traditional industrial operations.

fpl Project No: FPL-4714-2A
Title: Providing information on the engineering properties and performance characteristics of wood-based structural products.

Project Leader:
Ross, Robert J.Ross, Robert J.


Research Emphasis Area:
 Advanced Structures

fpl Overview:
The basic elements for wood-based buildings of tomorrow will be engineered wood products, such as I-joists, trusses, glued-laminated beams, and round timbers, and built-up components, such as stressed-skin and sandwich panels. The wood resource that will be available in the future to manufacture such products will increasingly consist of underutilized, reused, or recycled materials. However, the lack of engineering property data is currently a barrier to using such resources, and the efficient design and safe use of these engineered wood products hinges on the ability to reliably predict their properties. Researchers are working to collect this data and develop analytical models to predict their properties in order to promote increased production and use of engineered wood products made from this nontraditional wood material.

fpl Project No: FPL-4714-3A
Title: Developing information on the performance and design of structural wood systems.

Project Leader:
Ross, Robert J.Ross, Robert J.



Research Emphasis Area:
 Advanced Structures

fpl Overview:
A fundamental knowledge of structural building systems, including optimizing current construction and developing new systems based on either existing or new wood-based materials, promotes sustainability through more efficient utilization of our wood resource. In order to encourage the most efficient design and construction of buildings, researchers are studying the interaction between individual components, the connections used, and the overall system performance.

fpl Specifically, research projects include developing analytical models of structural systems under extreme conditions such as high winds or earthquakes; studying fastener performance; developing new connection systems; providing engineering design information on adhesive systems; and developing innovative repair methods for wood structures.

fpl Project No: FPL-4714-MA
Title: Understanding why wood-based materials fail under end-use conditions, developing new and improved methods for predicting service life, and incorporating new designs, materials, and methods to make structures last longer.

Project Leader:
Ross, Robert J.Ross, Robert J.


Research Emphasis Area:
 Advanced Structures

fpl Overview:
Recent advances in chemistry, biology, and physics facilitate modification of wood-based materials to meet specific needs. Our basic research will answer questions such as the effect of nanoscale modification of the cell wall on water and water vapor transmission through materials, or the inhibition of degradation through polymer modification. Components such as caulks and sealants, adhesives, structural insulated panels, and new composite materials will also be evaluated for their suitability in various structures and conditions such as high-moisture areas.

Goals in this area include continued development of a database on the mechanisms or weathering of wood, modified wood, and treated wood; refining and improving service life prediction models for the outdoor performance of wood; determining the effect of wood moisture content on materials used in conjunction with wood; and evaluating the surface properties of wood for resistance to sunlight and moisture degradation.

This research strives to address one of the biggest challenges in modern construction: creating and maintaining a water-proof building envelope. We need to develop better designs for structures that take into consideration the properties of both wood and non-wood components and the interaction between the two, and gain an understanding of how climate, weather, natural disasters, and structure use affect these interactions.