Research Highlights

Publication Year: 2019
Schematic representation of moisture transport and gradients during the process of water vapor absorption. USDA Forest Service.
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 ...
Researchers built a test hut with a variety of different exterior insulations and interior vapor retarders in order to test some common cases in the cold climate of Wisconsin. USDA Forest Service
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. ...
Building under construction featuring glue-laminated timber columns and beams and cross-laminated timber floors. Colorado School of Mines
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 ...
Publication Year: 2018
Photo of the historic ship Eureka. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 1302
Examination of Historic National Park System Ship Eureka

Researchers collaborated with the National Park Service (NPS) to examine a historic ship preserved at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. ...
Automated sorption balance. USDA Forest Service
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 resear ...
Flaming with special sample holder with thermocouples in the cone calorimeter test. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 1317
Pyrolysis and Combustion Material Properties of Naturally Heterogeneous Fuel Beds of Southern Pine Forests

Detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for fire behavior of various live and dead foliage can benefit from the Forest Products Laboratory's detailed fundamental measurements for compositio ...
Cover of ASHRAE Standard 160-2016
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. ...
Finger joint after failure showing smooth wood surfaces that could be easily refit together where the adhesive failed at low temperatures. USDA Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 1301
Wood Adhesives at High Temperatures

Researchers examined the performance of finger-jointed lumber to understand how it performs in fire. ...
Publication Year: 2017
The Cedar Covered Bridge, Winterset, Iowa, was destroyed by a fire set by an unknown arsonist on the evening of September 3, 2002. The Madison County Board of Supervisors constructed a replica of the original bridge, but this replica was also destroyed by an arsonist on April 15, 2017.
Highlight ID: 1291
Evaluating fire-damaged components of historic covered bridges

Arson continues to claim many historic covered bridges including the most recent one: Cedar Covered Bridge ...
Flashover occuring during test 2 with a partiallyexposed CLT ceiling.
Highlight ID: 1273
Fire performance of CLT buildings

Fire tests demonstrate that CLT buildings can be designed to withstand fire. ...
Dynamic vapor sorption instrument.
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 p ...
Phase diagram describing the states of water in wood.
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
X-ray fluorescence microscopy maps of concentration of chlorine (bottom) and potassium  (top) ions as a function of relative humidity.  The scale bar represents 20 microns. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 601
Advancing Understanding of Wood Damage Mechanisms

Forest Service researchers examined the diffusion of ions in wood using synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy. The researchers found that there was a threshold moisture content below which ...
Combustion tests and fire dynamics simulations allow researchers to characterize combustion rates, calorimetry, gas emissions, effective and total heat of combustion, and convective and radiative heat fluxes. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 622
Developing the Next Generation of Forest Fire Behavior Models

Efforts are underway to develop the next generation of forest fire behavior models, and Forest Service researchers are extending their knowledge of the fire behavior of wood materials to the realm of ...
Exterior walls of test huts viewed from the southeast. Lance Barta, Home Innovation Research Labs
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 ...
Simplified schematic representation of a cross-flow energy recovery ventilator core that allows transfer of heat and moisture to incoming supply air from exhaust air. This core helps maintain indoor conditions while bringing in fresh outdoor air. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 606
Understanding Impacts of Ventilation on Moisture Levels in Homes

"Build tight, ventilate right" is good for reducing energy use in homes. Ventilation can also change the moisture levels in homes, affecting both human comfort and structural durability. A Forest Serv ...
Illustration of moisture sources and sinks in a typical home. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 607
Understanding Soil Gas Entry Into Homes

Your home sits on the ground, and hence is influenced by soil gas that can add both moisture and radon to your indoor air. A Forest Service scientist investigated how much moisture enters a home throu ...
Publication Year: 2014
Flames in wood crib of creosote-treated timbers, approximately eight minutes after application of hot metal wafer. Robert White, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 589
Intumescent Coating for Fire Protection of Structures

After years of development by industry, Forest Service scientists conducted specialized fire tests to prove the value of intumescent coating for fire protection. They developed a hot metal test to ver ...
The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 588
New Insight into Wood Damage Mechanisms

Wood fails because bad things start to happen when wood gets wet. Dimensional stability, mold growth, fungal attack, fastener corrosion, all are caused by fluctuations in moisture or an abundance of m ...
Computer-based simulation tools allow designers to gauge the risk of moisture problems in building design. Tivoli Gough, USDA Forest Service
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 ...
Publication Year: 2013
A galvanized joist hanger corrodes on a wood deck. Forest Service researchers developed a desk reference to help people select the appropriate construction materials to prevent these failures. Samuel Zelinka, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 438
Desk Reference on Fastener Corrosion Created for Engineers

Fastener corrosion is a design consideration when building exterior wood structures. Forest Products Laboratory researchers recently developed a desk reference for fastener corrosion with wood to help ...
Installation of a cross-laminated timber panel for Promega building in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Steve Schmieding, USDA Forest Service
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 applicatio ...
Publication Year: 2012
Cone calorimeter testing simulates realistic fire scenarios. Steve Schmieding, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 13
Cone Calorimetry Takes Center Stage in Evaluating Fire Retardancy of Wood Products

Evaluations of cone calorimeter tests are now documented in handbook ...
Researchers are studying the freezing and melting of water in solid wood to learn about wood decay and faster corrosion processes. Tatiana Morozova,
Highlight ID: 15
Water Freezing in Wood: How Low Can It Go

The freezing and melting of water in wood gives clues about how water bonds to wood during processes such as wood decay and fastener corrosion ...
Publication Year: 2011
Serious wood/metal corrosion of a fastener under a deck in Branson, MO. Samuel L. Zelinka, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 278
Corrosion of metals in wood

Corrosion data are necessary for the safe design and construction of wood decks and patios. Previous research was unable to calculate corrosion rates because the surface areas of threaded fasteners a ...
A fire growth model for homeowner-sized plats is being developed with state-of-the-art testing of realistic objects. Steve Schmieding, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 289
Developing a fire model for homeowner-sized plats - Protecting lives and properties through proper selection of building and landscape materials

This research is directed to development of fire growth model for the homeowner sized plat that would guide the user on better and aesthetic selections of building and landscaping construction to sign ...
The process elements for the biomass gasification concept that are incorporated into the spreadsheet model. Edward M. (Ted) Bilek, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 303
Engineering and Economic Modeling of Biofuels Production

FPL researchers developed a flexible and customizable computer model that allows users to do a preliminary evaluation of the feasibility of incorporating a biomass gasification plant into an existing ...
Homes with raised floors in New Orleans, Louisiana. Samuel V. Glass, Forest Service
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 Agri ...
Publication Year: 2010
Schematic of the innovative impedance spectroscopy experiments performed at the US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory that showed electrical conduction in wood is governed by percolation theory. Forest Service
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 in ...

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 ...
Physical phenomena described by mathematical models for indoor humidity in homes. Forest Service
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 Lab ...

Team Members

NameJob TitlePhone

Boardman, Charles R.
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General Engineer608-231-9227

Bourne, Keith
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Mechanical Engineer608-663-5177

Dietenberger, Mark A.
view profile »
Research General Engineer608-231-9531

Glass, Samuel V.
view profile »
Research Physical Scientist608-231-9401

Hasburgh, Laura, E.
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Fire Protection Engineer608-231-9532

Yedinak, Kara
view profile »
Materials Research Engineer608-231-9301

Zelinka, Samuel L.
view profile »
Supervisory Materials Research Engineer608-231-9277

Products (Publications & Patents)

Below are the 50 most recent products author or co-authored by researchers of this unit that have been posted, sorted by publication year and title. To access the complete repository of FPL products, click here.
Publication YearTitleDate Posted
2020Effects of wood moisture content and the level of acetylation on brown rot decay


2020Hygrothermal characterization and modeling of cross-laminated timber in the building envelope


2020Prescribed fire science: the case for a refined research agenda


2020Salt Damage in Wood: Controlled Laboratory Exposures and Mechanical Property Measurements


2020Simulating real compartment fire conditions in a furnace


2019Biodeterioration models for building materials: critical review


2019Copper distribution and oxidation states near corroded fasteners in treated wood


2019Corrosiveness of Thermally Modified Wood


2019Effects of Moisture on Diffusion in Unmodified Wood Cell Walls: A Phenomenological Polymer Science Approach


2019Field moisture performance of wood-framed walls with exterior insulation in a cold climate


2019Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals: A Potential Fire Retardant for Polymer Composites


2019Heats for combustion, capacities, and evaporation of fresh leaves, and their relationships to leaf compositions


2019Hygrothermal modeling of wall drying after water injection


2019Kinetics of water vapor sorption in wood cell walls: state of the art and research needs


2019Production of ethanol from livestock, agricultural, and forest residuals: an economic feasibility study


2019Relative humidity versus moisture content relationship for several commercial wood species and its potential effect on flame spread


2019Research needs assessment for the mass timber industry: Proceedings of the 2nd North American mass timber research needs workshop


2019Structure moisture monitoring of an 8-story mass timber building in the Pacific Northwest


2019The parallel exponential kinetics model is unfit to characterize moisture sorption kinetics in cellulosic materials


2019The processing of Pinus radiata: pore size distribution changes in the cell wall structure studied by pressure plate technique and mercury intrusion porosimetry


2018A project to measure and model pyrolysis to improve prediction of prescribed fire behavior


2018Ability of finger-jointed lumber to maintain load at elevated temperatures


2018Acetylation increases relative humidity threshold for ion transport in wood cell walls – a means to understanding decay resistance


2018Apparatus for gravimetric measurement of moisture sorption isotherms for 1-100 g samples in parallel


2018Assessment of fastener corrosion and salt damage in the bilge of the Eureka


2018Compartment fire testing of a two-story mass timber building


2018Experimental investigation of the influence of temperature on thermal conductivity of multilayer reflective thermal insulation


2018Fire-retardant-treated structural glued laminated timber (glulam) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL)


2018Full-scale fire tests of a two-story cross-laminated timber structure


2018Fungal–copper interactions in wood examined with large field of view synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy


2018Moisture monitoring and modeling of mass-timber building systems


2018Moisture monitoring of wood-frame walls with and without exterior insulation in the Midwestern U.S


2018Moisture monitoring throughout the construction and occupancy of mass timber builidings


2018Myth versus reality: do parabolic sorption isotherm models reflect actual wood–water thermodynamics?


2018Performance of wood adhesive for cross laminated timber under elevated temperatures


2018Quantifying and reducing errors in equilibrium moisture content measurements with dynamic vapor sorption (DVS) experiments


2018Remote detection of termite activity in wooden bridge structures


2018Role of transport in wood damage mechanisms – WSE 2017 keynote lecture


2017Accelerated aging of preservative-treated structural plywood


2017Analysis of improved criteria for mold growth in ASHRAE standard 160 by comparison with field observations


2017Compartment fire testing of cross-laminated timber structures


2017Cone calorimeter testing of foam core sandwich panels treated with intumescent paper underneath the veneer (FRV)


2017Development of a mold risk model for wood buildings


2017Effect of weight percent gain and experimental method on fiber saturation point of acetylated wood determined by differential scanning calorimetry


2017Evaluation of nonpressure wood preservatives for military applications


2017Expanding the cross-laminated timber market through building moisture monitoring and improved modeling


2017Fire risk with different adhesives in cross-laminated timber (CLT)


2017Flammability of invasive species investigated with cone calorimetry


2017Flammability properties and radiant fraction of FRT wood plastic composites using mass loss calorimeter under HRR hood


2017Laboratory investigation of fire transfer from exterior wood decks to buildings in the wildland-urban interface


2017Rheometry of coarse biomass at high temperature and pressure


2017Short hold times in dynamic vapor sorption measurements mischaracterize the equilibrium moisture content of wood


2017Simple and accurate temperature correction for moisture pin calibrations in oriented strand board


2017Synchrotron based x-ray fluorescence microscopy confirms copper in the corrosion products of metals in contact with treated wood


2017Synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy enables multiscale spatial visualization of ions involved in fungal lignocellulose deconstruction


2016A solution thermodynamics definition of the fiber saturation point and the derivation of a wood-water phase (state) diagram


2016Avast Ye Salty Dogs: Salt damage in the context of coastal residential construction and historical maritime timbers


2016Cell wall domain and moisture content influence southern pine electrical conductivity


2016Char rates under design fire scenarios


2016Comparison of the corrosion of fasteners embedded in wood measured in outdoor exposure with the predictions from a combined hygrothermal-corrosion model


2016Control of solar-driven moisture diffusion in cross-laminated timber walls with absorptive claddings


2016Corrosion of metals in treated wood examined by synchrotron based xanes and XFM


2016Distribution and oxidation state of copper in the cell walls of treated wood examined by synchrotron based XANES and XFM


2016EcoSmart Fire as structure ignition model in wildland urban interface: predictions and validations


2016Effect of Adhesives and Ply Configuration on the Fire Performance of Southern Pine Cross-Laminated Timber


2016Effects of Exterior Insulation on Moisture Performance of Wood-Frame Walls in the Pacific Northwest: Measurements and Hygrothermal Modeling


2016Evaluating fire-damaged components of historic covered bridges


2016Fire Performance of Mass-Timber Encapsulation Methods and the Effect of Encapsulation on Char Rate of Cross-Laminated Timber


2016Improvements to water vapor transmission and capillary absorption measurements in porous materials


2016Litter Species Composition and Topographic Effects on Fuels and Modeled Fire Behavior in an Oak-Hickory Forest in the Eastern USA


2016Method and Apparatus to Produce Synthesis Gas Via Flash Pyrolysis and Gasification in a Molten Liquid *


2016Moisture storage and transport properties of preservative treated and untreated southern pine wood


2016Not just lumber--Using wood in the sustainable future of materials, chemicals, and fuels


2016Phosphorylated lignin as a halogen-free flame retardant additive for epoxy composites


2016The role of chemical transport in the brown-rot decay resistance of modified wood


2016Wood Products Thermal Degradation and Fire


2015Anatomically informed mesoscale electrical impedance spectroscopy in southern pine and the electric field distribution for pin-type electric moisture metres


2015 Thermal Insulation System Made of Wood and Paper for Use in Residential Construction


2015Basement radon entry and stack driven moisture infiltration reduced by active soil depressurization


2015Cellulose Nanocrystal Entrapment of Benzalkonium Chloride in Southern Pine: Biological, Chemical, and Physical Properties


2015Comparison of the Heat Release Rate from the Mass Loss Calorimeter to the Cone Calorimeter for Wood-based Materials


2015Corrosion of Wires on Wooden Wire-Bound Packaging Crates


2015Flame Retardancy of Chemically Modified Lignin as Functional Additive to Epoxy Nanocomposites


2015Force-displacement measurements of earlywood bordered pits using a mesomechanical tester


2015Improvements to the Understanding of the Fire Performance of Wood over the Past 30 Years-A Tribute to Robert Hawthorne White


2015Investigation of black and brown carbon multiple-wavelength-dependent light absorption from biomass and fossil fuel combustion source emissions


2015Moisture Performance of Energy-Efficient and Conventional Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies in a Mixed-Humid Climate


2015Moisture transfer through the membrane of a cross-flow energy recovery ventilator: Measurement and simple data-driven modeling


2015Remote sensing for detection of termite infestations—Proof of Concept


2015Subcellular Electrical Measurements as a Function of Wood Moisture Content


2015The Role of Chemical Transport in the Decay Resistance of Modified Wood. In: M


2015Threshold for ion movements in wood cell walls below fiber saturation observed by X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM)


2015Withdrawal Strength and Bending Yield Strength of Stainless Steel Nails


2015Wood Structural Panel & Foam Insulation Systems: Hygrothermal Behavior & Lateral Load Resistance-Experimental Studies


2014Application of Quasi-Heat-Pulse Solutions for Luikov’s Equations of Heat and Moisture Transfer for Calibrating and Utilizing Thermal Properties Apparatus


2014Chapter 23: Corrosion of Metals in Wood Products


2014ecoSmart landscapes: a versatile SaaS platform for green infrastructure applications in urban environments


2014Evaluation of Wood Species and Preservatives for Use in Wisconsin Highway Sign Posts


2014Foam Core Particleboards with Intumescent FRT Veneer: Cone Calorimeter Testing With Varying Adhesives, Surface Layer Thicknesses, and Processing Conditions


2014Investigation of Historic Equilibrium Moisture Content Data from the Forest Products Laboratory


Research Projects

Below are 3 research projects associated with this research unit.
Project NumberTitleProject Dates
FPL-4716-1ADevelop information on the relationships between moisture, energy efficiency & durability in residential and non-residential wood buildings

01-23-2015 - 01-22-2020

FPL-4716-2ADevelop technologies & methods to improve the fire performance of wood-based structures and reduce the loss from catastrophic wildland fire

01-23-2015 - 01-22-2020

FPL-4716-3AFundamental research on heat and mass transfer in wood products

01-23-2015 - 01-22-2020


Cone Calorimeter Datasets
The cone calorimeter at the Forest Service - Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) is a Model No. Cone 2A, Combustion Analysis System (AutoCal) (Serial No. CO2-2014) manufactured by Atlas Electric Devices Company of Chicago, IL. We have created this public domain repository of the actual data files of the time-dependent data for cone calorimeter tests cited in publications of the Forest Service - Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to make the complete data files more available. At FPL, the cone calorimeter has replaced various other test methods for our initial evaluation of the flammability of untreated and treated wood products. The test standards for the cone calorimeter test are ASTM E1354 of ASTM International and ISO 5660 of International Organization for Standardization. The cone calorimeter primarily measures the rate of heat released due to combustion of the specimen when it is exposed to a constant heat flux ...

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