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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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Engineered Composites Science

Project Title :  Improve forest management, increasing resource sustainability, increasing recycling, exploring new applications & transferring technologies.
Project Number : FPL-4706-3B
Status : TERMINATED
Start Date : 10-01-2012
End Date : 09-30-2017


View the 13 publications associated with this project.

Zhiyong CaiPrincipal Investigator:
Zhiyong Cai

Non Technical Summary
economies because of their adaptability to a diverse array of dissimilar and widely variable resources over a wide array of uses/products. National Forest timber and other public and private fiber resources of the future will be a different mix and quality than traditional past resources. Utilization research on composite materials can help to provide both an economic and an environmental return while contributing to rural health and jobs. Engineered composites assembled from small pieces of wood or woody-like material provide technology that is more adaptable to a changing resource base. These sustainable products can incorporate a variety of wood and bio-based raw materials in the form of crystallites, fibers, particles, flakes, strands, and veneers. Engineered biocomposites can also be made with raw materials that are recycled or post-consumer, post-industrial, or post-agricultural residues. Each resource presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. Their use in composites must be understood, then that knowledge must be efficiently implemented to economically and sustainably meet user needs. As forest and agricultural resource options change, and as waste-stream wood- and other natural bio-resources become available, as alternative non-wood materials become more economical and available, and as air and water quality regulations become more stringent, there is a need for us to address each of these issues. Thus, we must aid in meeting Forest Service and societal goals of improving forest management, increasing resource sustainability, increasing recycling, exploring new applications, and transferring technologies.


Objectives Summary
A. Improve forest sustainability and reduce environmental impacts.B. Explore new applications and transfer technology.


Approach Summary
A. Improve forest sustainability and reduce environmental impacts:1) Evaluate the use of recycled paper as a source for cellulose nanofibers. 2) Evaluate alternative biomass resources including plantation and fast-grown tree species. 3) Develop a more complete understanding of how end-use performance of biocomposites is influenced by use of raw materials (e.g. thinnings obtained to promote forest health, exotic/invasive species, and post-industrial, insect-, disease-, or fire-damaged materials).4) Minimize the environmental impacts of composite manufacture (e.g., reduce energy requirements, minimize VOC’s).5) Replace synthetic polymers with bio-based polymers in wood-based composites.6) Promote wood and wood-based composites for use and recognition as green building materials.7) Develop a database of information relating to life-cycle analysis and help define the total environmental costs and benefits of composite manufacturing processes as they relate to changing processing parameters.8) velop processing methods to recycle existing preservative-treated wood into composites.B. Explore new applications and transfer technology:1) Explore potential applications of wood-based composites as green materials to replace existing, less sustainable materials. 2) Seek partnerships that promote wood-based products such as light weight 3D engineered panels and nano-cellulose composites.3) Develop microwave process methods whereby wood processing energy requirements or environmental impacts would be reduced while implementing unique microwave processing possibilities.

Publications associated with this Project

Publication YearTitleDate Posted
2017A co-production of sugars, lignosulfonates, cellulose, and cellulose nanocrystals from ball-milled woods10/06/17
2015An Evolutionary History of Oriented Strandboard (OSB)03/10/15
2016Assessing the specific energy consumption and physical properties of comminuted Douglas-fir chips for bioconversion12/23/16
2013Chapter 11: Integrated Technology for Biobased Composites09/30/13
2013Chapter 6: New Products and Product Categories in the Global Forest Sector02/03/14
2010Development and Application of Wood Adhesives in China11/26/10
2015High-performance green flexible electronics based on biodegradable cellulose nanofibril paper09/23/16
2014Highly-efficient capillary photoelectrochemical water splitting using cellulose nanofiber-templated TiO 2 photoanodes09/23/16
2014Important properties of bamboo pellets to be used as commercial solid fuel in China09/23/16
2016Multistep process to produce fermentable sugars and lignosulfonates from softwood enzymolysis residues10/06/17
2016Nanocellulose-enabled electronics, energy harvesting devices, smart materials and sensors: a review02/10/17
2016Newly invented biobased materials from low-carbon, diverted waste fibers: research methods, testing, and full-scale application in a case study structure03/22/17
2016Opportunities for cellulose nanomaterials in packaging films: a review and future trends02/10/17

Project Summaries last modified: 03-15-2013