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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #440669

Research Project: Climate-Friendly Wood Building Products

Location: National Programs

Project Number: 0500-00090-001-003-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

Wood-fiber based insulation in a variety of forms (batting, rigidboards, foams) which replace current petroleum-derived products has potential to lower embodied carbon content in the built-environment, provide large volume new markets for forest biomass and residue, and promote economic activity in rural communities through industrial activity. The activities enabled through this NACA involve two manufacturing firms with the intent to shorten time-to-market and implementation of discoveries. Scientific SCA objectives include: [1] Evaluate hygrothermal durability of wood fiber insulation and energy efficiency as an alternative to rigid polystyrene foams. [2] Explore two processing technologies, namely microwave-assisted foaming and surfactant–assisted foam forming combined with CNF binder technology to produce strong, insulative and sound-absorbing products for a variety of applications from building materials to specialty packaging components.

The NACA activities will be carried out through two research teams – one for each objective. Each team has identified industrial partners and USDA Forest Products Laboratory collaborating scientists. The approach for objective 1 is: a) develop prototype WIP products. The bonding performance between WFI and various wood-based products, serving as faces, will be evaluate; b) conduct hygrothermal durability and thermal conductivity analyses of WIPs at an assembly level with support from OPAL through the design of wall assemblies and the USDA FPL through artificial weather exposure testing and hygrothermal simulation; and c) conduct a field test to monitor the hygrothermal durability and energy consumption of an existing building made of CLT and WFI panels with the support of OPAL. The approach for objective 2 is: a) evaluation of foam forming technology for wood particle foaming and process optimization; b) determination of the effect of drying method on foam properties; c) production of laminated foams and sandwich panels; and d) scale up and trial run.