Research Highlights

Publication Year: 2018
All three structures remained standing after the testing – even tests designed to take the structures well beyond their design intent. WoodWorks – Wood Products Council
Highlight ID: 1318
Blast-Resistant Testing for Loaded Mass Timber Structures

The ability of cross laminated timbers to resist nearby detonations is verified through blast testing. ...
Laboratory experimental process to evaluate adhesive bonding properties of CLT made from hardwood and softwood species grown in the Great Lakes region. Michigan Technological University
Highlight ID: 1308
Bonding Mixed Species for Advanced Biomaterials

Massive composite timbers, such as cross laminated timber (CLT), are essential for tall timber buildings that require use of locally available wood resources to reduce manufacturing costs and minimize ...
A northern hardwood stand in the Dukes Experimental Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 1310
Effects of Silviculture Practices on the Engineering Properties of Northern Hardwood Species of the Lake States

Wood quality is an important determinant of its end use and therefore its value. Recent proliferation of novel engineered wood products has created new potential uses for hardwood. However, a greater ...
Group photo. Beijing Forestry University
Highlight ID: 1303
International Research Institute Formed to Address Utilization of Plantation Grown Biomaterials

Leading wood scientists and engineers from around the globe formed an international group to address conservation issues surrounding historic trees and structures. ...
Typical timber bridge example. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 1309
Laboratory Evaluation of Salvaged Bridge Girders from U.S. Route 66

Timber bridges have been in-service for nearly nine decades along Southern California's Historic Route 66 National Trails Highway. Several untreated sawn timber stringers were recently salvaged and tr ...
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
Assembled Commodity Wood Tornado Safe Room.
Highlight ID: 1280
A residential tornado safe room from commodity wood products

Forest Service researchers designed a tornado safe room to be constructed from commodity wood building products and adaptable to existing homes. ...
Researcher Xiping Wang inspects field exposed specimens with ground penetrating radar.
Highlight ID: 1285
Assessing the ability of ground-penetrating radar to detect internal moisture and fungal decay

Internal moisture and fungal decay are detected in structural bridge members using ground penetrating radar for faster evaluation of timber bridges. ...
The Catt Bridge is located in Buchanan County, Iowa, and is supported by GRS abutments and equipped with a smart bridge system.
Highlight ID: 1281
Smart timber bridge on geo-synthetic reinforced soil abutments

Forest Service researchers partnered in the construction and monitoring of an innovative bridge abutment system, developed to be lower cost and faster to construct with improved performance and durabi ...
Publication Year: 2016
A new, portable tree testing tool for determining the hazard potential of urban trees. R. Bruce Allison, Allison Tree Care, Inc.
Highlight ID: 655
Scientists Develop New Tool to Detect Internal Decay in Trees

Through collaboration with an industrial partner, the Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory helped develop a handheld tool to assist tree inspectors with detecting internal decay in standing tre ...
Researchers are developing seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber buildings in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 657
Seismic Performance of Cross-Laminated Timber Buildings

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings are becoming popular in earthquake regions of the United States, but structural engineers need new design methods. Forest Service research is striving to develop ...
High-resolution laser scan image of a log with detected defect areas highlighted and acoustic waves passing through. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 656
Using New Technologies to Improve Log Defect Detection

Scientists from the Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory and Northern Research Station cooperated with West Virginia University to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. hardwood lumber indust ...
Publication Year: 2014
Wood and Timber Condition Assessment Manual. Tivoli Gough, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 583
Assessment Manual for Timber Structures Helps Building Inspectors

The Wood and Timber Condition Assessment Manual is an extremely valuable resource for wood design professionals. Forest Service scientists are leading experts in this field and are the "go-to source" ...
Researchers evaluated the Ming Dynasty Tombs and the Palace Museum located in the Forbidden City, Beijing, China. Thinkstock
Highlight ID: 586
Inspection Protocols Help Preserve Ancient Chinese Structures

Forest Service scientists worked with Chinese scientists and engineers to develop inspection procedures to aid in the preservation and restoration of historically significant wood structures. ...
Publication Year: 2013
The Cox Ford Bridge in Parke County, Indiana, has a Burr-arch truss configuration. James Wacker, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 433
Keeping America's Historic Covered Bridges Safe for Vehicular Traffic

The Forest Products Laboratory, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service is sponsoring a comprehensive research program on Historic Covered Timber Bridges i ...
The acoustic measurement system developed by Forest Service scientists and their collaborators has been integrated into the harvesting processor head, enabling tree quality evaluation during the harvesting operation. Peter Carter, Fibre-gen
Highlight ID: 436
New Acoustic Technology Evaluates Wood Quality of Standing Trees

Lack of techniques to assess the quality of standing trees results in inefficient allocation of timber resources and also limits the ability of forest managers to grow high-quality wood with appropria ...
Bridge No. 738 located in Yakima County, Washington, remains in satisfactory condition after 75 years of service. James Wacker, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 434
Scientists Study True Longevity of Timber Highway Bridges

Do timber bridges last longer than concrete or steel bridges in similar climates This national project aims to generate more reliable data about the true longevity of timber bridges in the U.S. and al ...
Forest Service researcher conducts an in-grade bending test on Southern pine. David Kretschmann, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 440
Traditional Grading System Updated for Structural Lumber

The Forest Products Laboratory has traditionally provided unbiased information on the properties, characteristics, design, and use of structural wood products to groups and agencies that develop or co ...
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
Laser scanning technologies further preservation efforts of historic covered bridges. Jim Wacker, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 25
America's Iconic Covered Bridges Documented With As Built Records

Laser scanning technology provides details of historic covered timber bridges ...
Assessing Wood Utilization Options for Urban Trees Infected by Invasive Species is a comprehensive manual that can be used by professionals. Forest Service
Highlight ID: 23
Making the Most of Beetle-Killed Trees

New manual gives land managers a variety of options for beetle-killed trees ...
Publication Year: 2011
The Portland Mills Covered Bridge in Parke County, Indiana, has a Burr-Archtruss design. James Wacker, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 284
America's Historic Covered Timber Bridges

Covered wooden bridges proliferated in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Today an estimated 800 covered bridge structures remain as cherished links to the technological heritage of the ...
Commercial dry kiln is used to heat treat freshly cut hardwood firewood for interstate commerce. Forest Service
Highlight ID: 279
Develop thermal verification guidelines for firewood heat treatment

To stop further spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has enforced a heat treatment process for the U.S. firewood industry to heat steriliz ...
Wooden ammunition pallets are placed in a laboratory kiln to be heat treated for ISPM-15 standard. Xiping Wang, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 282
Heat treating wooden ammunition pallets for invasive species

Wood pallets serve as support for munitions loads and other military supplies transported within the continental U.S. and internationally. Despite this integral transport function, wood pallets have b ...
Publication Year: 2010

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 ...

Highlight ID: 185
Heat Sterilization of Firewood for Thermal Eradication of Emerald Ash Borer

FPL researchers have led a joint research effort with USDA APHIS and state regulatory staff to evaluate various heat treatment options and heating times for ash firewood and help firewood industry to ...

Team Members

NameJob TitlePhone

Byrd, Pamela
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Program Support Assistant608-231-9352

Lo Ricco, Marco
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Research General Engineer608-231-9583

Rammer, Douglas R.
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Research General Engineer608-231-9266

Ross, Robert J.
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Supervisory Research Gen. Engineer608-231-9221

Senalik, Christopher Adam
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Research General Engineer608-231-9309

Wacker, James P.
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Research General Engineer608-231-9224

Wang, Xiping
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Forest Products Technologist608-231-9461

Zwettler, Petra
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Administrative Clerk608-231-9508

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
2019Development of a ready-to-assemble tornado shelter from cross-laminated timber (CLT): impact and wind pressure testing


2019DNA-based separation of Norway Spruce lumber from American Spruce lumber


2019Lateral load performance of structural insulated panel (SIP) diaphragms


2019Rock n’ roll seismic isolation with cross-laminated timber


2018A fit of a mixture of bivariate normals to lumber stiffness—strength data


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


2018Advanced signal analysis technologies to improve automated lumber grading technologies


2018Bridge Deterioration Quantification Protocol Using UAV


2018Defect detection and quality assessment of hardwood logs: part 1—acoustic impact test and wavelet analysis


2018Defect detection and quality assessment of hardwood logs: part 2—combined acoustic and laser scanning system


2018Design values for domestic wood species used in stairway construction


2018Development of seismic performance factors for cross-laminated timber shear walls


2018Distributions of MOE and MOR in a full lumber population


2018Drone-enabled bridge inspection methodology and application


2018Effect of site characteristics on juvenile wood transition in lodgepole pine in the inland northwest


2018Engineering performance characteristics of hardwood cross-laminated timber


2018Evaluating the use of drones for timber bridge inspection


2018Evaluation of creep performance of structural insulated panels (SIPs): phase 2


2018Extended plate and beam demonstration home


2018Field application of UAS-based bridge inspection


2018Full-scale shake table test of a two story mass-timber building with resilient rocking walls


2018Improving Log Defect Detection Accuracy by Combining Complementary Scanning Methods *


2018Industry-prioritized research, technology transfer, and education needs and opportunities in residential construction


2018Lateral load performance of SIP walls with full bearing


2018Nondestructive assessment of wood members in a viewing tower in Potawatomi State Park, Door County, Wisconsin, USA


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


2018Reliability of acoustic tomography and ground-penetrating radar for tree decay detection


2018Residential tornado safe room from commodity wood products – design and development


2018Residential tornado safe room from commodity wood products – impact and wind pressure testing


2018Statistical investigation of modulus of elasticity and modulus of rupture distributions in mill run southern pine lumber


2018Synthesis of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications for Infrastructures


2018Systematic experimental investigation to support the development of seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber shear wall systems


2018Timber bridge inspection using UAV


2018Using transverse vibration nondestructive testing techniques to estimate stiffness and strength of southern pine lumber


2018Wear behavior of drill bits in wood drilling resistance measurements


2017A critical analysis of methods for rapid and nondestructive determination of wood density in standing trees


2017Accelerated aging of preservative-treated structural plywood


2017Acoustic impact testing and waveform analysis for damage detection in glued laminated timber


2017Assessing ability of ground-penetrating radar to detect internal moisture and fungal decay in Douglas-fir beams


2017Assessing specific gravity of young Eucalyptus plantation trees using a resistance drilling technique


2017Assessment of deterioration in timbers with time and frequency domain analysis techniques


2017Blast-resistant testing for loaded mass timber structures


2017Bonding mixed species for advanced biomaterials


2017Codes and standards activities at the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory


2017Combining acoustic and laser scanning methods to improve hardwood log segregation


2017Comparative durability of timber bridges in the USA


2017Comparison of nondestructive testing methods for evaluating No. 2 Southern Pine lumber: Part B, modulus of rupture


2017Development and full-scale validation of resilience-based seismic design of tall wood buildings: the NEHRI Tallwood Project


2017Development of heavy timber buckling-restrained braced frames


2017Effect of multiple knots in close proximity on southern pine lumber properties


2017Effect of silvicultural practices on the physical and mechanical properties of lake states hardwoods


2017Energy harvesting from wood floor vibration using a piezoelectric generator


2017Evaluation of bridge components salvaged from historic Route 66 in California


2017Evaluation of remotely piloted aircraft systems as a bridge inspection tool


2017Experimental and theoretical modal analysis of full-sized wood composite panels supported on four nodes


2017Investigation of early timber–concrete composite bridges in the United States


2017Mass timber rocking panel retrofit of a four-story soft-story building with full-scale shake table validation


2017Measuring wood quality in standing trees--a review


2017Multivariate modeling of acoustomechanical response of 14-year-old suppressed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) to variation in wood chemistry, microfibril angle and density


2017New technologies for ensuring best use of salvaged beetle-killed trees


2017Nondestructive assessment of wood members from a historic viewing tower


2017Partial resistance drilling to assess wood density in trees


2017Proceedings, 20th international nondestructive testing and evaluation of wood symposium


2017Reminder about potentially serious problems with a type of blocked ANOVA analysis


2017Simulations of solid lumber strength property monitoring tests


2017Smart timber bridge on geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) abutments


2017Statistical models for the distribution of modulus of elasticity and modulus of rupture in lumber with implications for reliability calculations


2016(Eds.) Proceedings: Mass Timber Research Workshop 2015


2016A finite element investigation of the relationship between bat taper geometry and bat durability


2016An acoustics operations study for Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) standing saw timber with different thinning history


2016An Overview of CLT Research and Implementation in North America


2016Assessing the Ability of Ground-Penetrating Radar to Detect Fungal Decay in Douglas-Fir Beams


2016Chapter 02218: Wood Mechanical Fasteners


2016Chapter 8 optimized test design for identification of the variation of elastic stiffness properties of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) pith to bark


2016Characterization of maple and ash material properties as a function of wood density for bat/ball impact modeling in LS-DYNA


2016Determination of seismic performance factors for CLT shear wall systems


2016Developing seismic performance factors for cross laminated timber in the United States


2016Development of a ready-to-assemble (RTA) tornado safe room constructed from cross-laminated timber


2016Development of a tornado safe room door from wood Products: door design and impact testing


2016Effectiveness of Several NDE Technologies in Detecting Moisture Pockets and: Artificial Defects in Sawn Timber and Glulam


2016Effects of cedar oil and silica gel treatment on dimensional stability and mechanical properties of Southern Yellow Pine boards


2016Experimental seismic behavior of a full-scale four-story soft-story wood-frame building with retrofits I: building design, retrofit methodology, and numerical validation


2016Experimental seismic behavior of a full-scale four-story soft-story wood-frame building with retrofits II: shake table test results


2016Field testing and structural analysis of Burr arch covered bridges in Pennsylvania


2016Hybrid system of unbonded post-tensioned CLT panels and light-frame wood shear walls


2016JMFA3--confirmation study looking into rotation and tilt effects on x-ray diffraction microfibril angle estimation


2016Lateral testing of glued laminated timber tudor arch


2016Maximum likelihood estimation of the parameters of a bivariate Gaussian-Weibull distribution from machine stress-rated data


2016Potential of ultrasonic pulse velocity for evaluating the dimensional stability of oak and chestnut wood


2016Predict the relationship between wood baseball bat profile and durability


2016Stress wave velocity patterns in the longitudinal-radial plane of trees for defect diagnosis


2016Tensile strength of thermally modified laminated strand lumber and laminated veneer lumber


2016Testing of small clear tension perpendicular to grain samples of Sugar Maple for radial, tangencial and 45 degree loading orientations


2016Time-of-Flight Adjustment Procedure for Acoustic Measurements in Structural Timber


2016Wind pressure testing of tornado safe room components made from wood


2016Wood I beams manufactured from small diameter logs


2016Wood: composition, structure, and nomenclature


2015A Field Assessment of Timber Highway Bridge Durability in the United States


2015Acoustic Evaluation of Thinning and Biosolid Fertilization Effects on Wood Quality of a Douglas-fir stand


2015Asymptotically Efficient Estimation of a Bivariate Gaussian-Weibull Distribution and an Introduction to the Associated Pseudo-truncated Weibull


Research Projects

Below are 8 research projects associated with this research unit.
Project NumberTitleProject Dates
FPL-4714-1BDevelop baseline information on the fundamental anatomical, physical, mechanical, and processing characteristics of wood

10-01-2012 - 09-30-2019

FPL-4714-1ADevelop baseline information on the fundamental anatomical, physical/mechanical, and processing characteristics of wood

07-23-2007 - 07-23-2012

FPL-4714-3BDevelop information on structural wood systems, specifically systems and energy performance and design

10-01-2012 - 09-30-2019

FPL-4714-3ADevelop information on structural wood systems, specifically systems performance and design

07-23-2007 - 07-23-2012

FPL-4714-2BDevelop information on the engineering properties and performance of wood based structural products

10-01-2012 - 09-30-2019

FPL-4714-2ADevelop information on the engineering properties and performance of wood-based structural products

07-23-2007 - 07-23-2012

FPL-4714-MAPublic service

07-23-2007 - 07-23-2012

FPL-4714-MBPublic service

10-01-2012 - 09-30-2019


fplSound waves reveal wood quality in logs and standing trees

Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory have extensively studied techniques using sound waves for assessing the mechanical and physical properties of wood and wood-based materials. Called non-destructive evaluation, or NDE, the techniques involve measuring the speed at which sound waves travel through logs or standing trees to determine the quality of the wood before it is sawn.
FPL researchers, working cooperatively with Fibre-gen, a New Zealand company, developed several tools on the market today that use acoustic, laser, and ultrasound technologies to evaluate the strength and soundness of the wood in logs and standing trees.
The Director HM200TM uses a pulse-echo measurement to assess logs and gives landowners and loggers a new way to grade and market logs by sorting and matching them to manufacturer and customer demands for stiffness and strength of products. The technology is beneficial when integrated into log supply and processing decision-making.
The Director ST300 utilizes several technologies (ultrasound, lasers, and impact-induced stress waves) to assess standing timber and allows forest managers to determine the quality of wood without cutting down the tree. The technology can be easily integrated with pre-harvest and earlier stand assessments, which aids in assessing mature stands for marketing, harvest planning and scheduling, assisting in planning silvicultural operations in immature stands, and in tree breeding operations.

Lab Notes - FPL's online news feed

Below are the 10 most recent Lab Notes blog postings pertaining to this research unit.

TitleDate Posted
Wood Tornado Shelter Provides Safe, Affordable Storm Protection

USDA Forest Service researchers have developed a tornado shelter made of wood that provides powerful protection at an affordable cost. With safety and security in mind, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) engineers designed the residential tornado ...
Mass Timber University Grant Program Initiated by U.S. Endowment and USDA Forest Service

The following is a press release from the U.S Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS), toda...
Hot New Video!

Trust us, you're going to want to see this...
Step by Step:

More than 1,500 wood samples are currently being evaluated at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) as part of an experiment that is helping researchers gain insight into the structural capabilities of various domestic hardwoods...
New Videos of Blast Tests Available

New video footage has been released of blast testing performed on cross laminated timber (CLT) structures, and it's quite a sight to see...
Blast Testing, Take Two!

The following is an update to a previous LabNotes post.  The updated version was recently featured on the USDA and Forest Service blogs:
T3 Building in Minneapolis"The Revolutionary Role of Wood in our Future":

The following is a post on the USDA blog highlighting research from the Forest Products Laboratory and the Northern Research Station. The original post can be seen here...
Turning Up the Heat:

Wood buildings provide an array of economic and environmental benefits. Interest in capitalizing on those benefits by constructing mid- to high-rise buildings using cross-laminated timber (CLT) is growing. CLT is made from layers of dried lumber boar...
A Major League Epidemic:

Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) have been studying bat breakage for nearly a decade. Research materials engineer John Considine recently stopped by Madison’s WORT FM’s 8 O’Clock Buzz to discuss the project’s progress and h...
The Future of Wood Products:

Pallet Enterprise, the leading pallet and sawmill magazine in America, recently talked with World Neih, national program leader for Forest Products and Wood Utilization for the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C...