Overview: There is a continuing need for low-weight, high-performance composites for the transportation, construction, and aerospace industries, as well as for consumer goods. Our research focuses on five components to help meet this need:
Chemical modifications and surface treatments will be investigated as a way to enhance properties such as water repellency, dimensional stability, wet strength and stiffness, hardness, toughness, weathering, resistance to ultraviolet radiation, fire, decay, and insects, and the ability to resist damage during processing.
Project No: FPL-4707-2A Title:The development of new adhesive systems must include improving dimensional stability and the product's resistance to fire and decay. Basic research will be conducted to understand the limitations to treating wood with preservatives and fire retardants, and their reactions with wood adhesives.
Overview: By expanding our understanding and control at nanoscale, new avenues of basic and applied research and product development can be achieved. The aim of this research is to use nanotechnology to facilitate the creation of novel materials or improve the properties of existing materials, devices, and systems. Researchers are working to gain fundamental knowledge of nanoscale phenomena, understand how changes at the nanoscale modify physical, chemical, and biological properties, develop new instruments to measure materials properties at the nanoscale, develop methods for structure evaluation and materials and systems design, and develop standards for testing, manufacture, and characterization of nano-materials.
Project No: FPL-4707-3A Title:Conducting research on nano-materials derived from wood
Overview: Nano-particles are of interest in many industries because of the unusual material properties they can possess. These properties include significant benefits as reinforcing materials, supporting catalysts, improving the performance of barrier films, acting as carriers for wood preservatives, and sensing or reporting wood moisture and decay. National research in nanotechnology has focused on the use of carbon nano-tubes and metallic nano-wires. These are both very expensive to produce. Cellulose nanocrystals derived from wood are a much lower cost high-performance alternative.
Research in this area includes efforts to understand wood as a nanoscale structure, methods to produce nanomaterials from cellulose, and support for other units at the Forest Products Laboratory working to incorporate nanotechnology into their research. An additional area of interest is an improved understanding of the organization of the woody cell wall, as that knowledge is critical to technical advances in nanotechnology.