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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Forest Products Research

Location: Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Project Number: 0202-11000-001-59-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2014
End Date: Aug 31, 2019

The objective of this project is to conduct mission relevant research which addresses the competitiveness of the forest products industry on a national and regional basis. The diversity of the industrial processes and markets provides a robust industrial ecosystem which is ultimately dependent upon the forest resource. This project has the following specific objectives: 1) To determine the potential of coating paper basesheets with nanofibrillated cellulose to produce a laminated material with properties which will enable new market applications, 2) To determine optimum processing parameters for the scaled-up production of spray dried nanofibrillated cellulose. The cost-effective production of this material is necessary for composite product systems which are non-aqueous, 3) To determine the lumber grade recovery from the current northern maine wood resource. This will include determination of mechanical properties of Norway Spruce - which is part of the northeastern conifer forest - but which is not currently allowed in structural applications, 4) To develop an improved assessment methodology for wood pellet durability, to increase the durability of wood pellets, and to evaluate the volatiles content from wood based pellets produced from northeastern species, and 5) To investigate the potential effects of extenders in pMDI binder systems on the duration of load (creep) behavior of oriented strand board produced from northeastern hardwood species. Additional information on each the five specific objectives are provided in the attached Appendix.

The approach to meet these research objectives includes a variety of experimental designs. Much of the materials evaluated will be provided from industrial cooperators to ensure results will be relevant to the marketplace (producers & consumers). Research will be conducted by a combination of faculty, graduate students, and research staff with results communicated to stakeholders through written and oral presentations, publications, and discussions. Specific approaches for the five objective areas are provided as follows. 1) Aqueous suspensions of nanofibrillated cellulose will be coated on paper basesheets using a high speed laboratory coating procedure for a range of process conditions. The physical and mechanical characteristics of the material will be evaluated, correlated with process conditions, and compared to coated papers currently on the market. 2) Aqueous suspensions of nanofibrillated cellulose and cellulose nanocrystals will be spray dried for a range of inlet drying gas temperatures, solids concentration, and liquid feed rate. Morphology, surface energy, and thermal behavior of the spray dried material will be quantified and related to processing conditions. 3) Lumber will be provided from a sawmill in Maine. Lumber grade recovery will be evaluated at the mill and compared against top log diameter. Mechanical performance of the lumber will be evaluated following standards. 4) A precision shaker table will be developed to accurately replicate transport and handling conditions wood pellets are exposed to. This device will then be used to evaluate pellet durability as influenced by pellet moisture content, species composition, size, and processing temperature. All pellets will be sources from mill located in the state of Maine. Additionally, an evaluation of combustible gasses generated during thermal composition will be made as a function of softwood/hardwood species composition. 5) OSB panels will be produced by a commercial facility with a pMDI adhesive with a second set containing an extended pMDI adhesive. The two sets of panels will be fully tested per ASTM D6815 to assess their creep performance. All tests will be conducted in a temperature/humidity controlled facility. Additional information on the approach for the five specific objectives are provided in the attached Appendix.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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