US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Samuel V. Glass

Research Physical Scientist
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: 608-231-9401
Fax: 608-231-9303
Contact Samuel V. Glass

Current Research

I lead the Building Moisture and Durability Research Team, one of four teams within the Durability and Wood Protection Research Work Unit at the Forest Products Laboratory. My work focuses on extending the service lives of buildings and wood products used in buildings by advancing a moisture performance based design approach and by promoting awareness of proper construction and operation practices. My primary research objectives include

  • characterizing building envelope moisture performance in a variety of climates
  • developing and evaluating moisture management strategies to improve building envelope performance
  • quantifying moisture sources in buildings
  • understanding moisture dynamics from the molecular level to the scale of whole buildings.

    Research Interests

    • Durability of energy-efficient housing
    • Building envelope performance
    • Moisture management in buildings
    • Heat, air, and moisture transfer
    • Wood-moisture relations
    • Hygrothermal properties of wood products
    • Interior and exterior moisture loads
    • Instrumentation for monitoring moisture levels in building assemblies

    Past Research

    My doctoral research was conducted in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I investigated how surfactant films at the gas-liquid interface control gas uptake and evaporation of water. These studies contributed to understanding the chemistry that occurs in sulfuric acid droplets in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.

    Why This Research is Important

    The sustainability and health of America’s forests depend on efficient use of our timber resources. Construction and repair of buildings account for approximately half of all lumber and other wood products (excluding paper) consumed annually in the U.S., and further increases in demand for residential and non-residential building products are anticipated. Increasing concerns about climate change, energy, and environmental impacts have stimulated a trend toward sustainable construction or “green” building. As a building material, wood has relatively low embodied energy and sequesters carbon over its service life. However, failure to properly manage moisture in buildings compromises service life and can lead to a host of undesirable consequences: mold growth, poor indoor air quality, corrosion of metals, loss of thermal resistance, damage from expansion or contraction, degradation by fungal decay or insects, and loss of strength possibly leading to structural failure. Research on moisture management in buildings is an essential aspect of sustainable forestry and green building.


    • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, 2005
    • Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, B.A. Chemistry/Classical Civilization/Archaeology, 1998

    Professional Experience

    • Research Physical Scientist, USDA Forest Products Laboratory
      2005 - Current
    • Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Chemistry
      2001 - 2005
    • Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Chemistry
      1999 - 2001

    Professional Organizations

    • Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST), Member (2008 - Current)
      Not currently involved in committee work.
    • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Member (2005 - Current)
      As chair of the research subcommittee of ASHRAE Technical Committee (TC) 4.4 on Building Materials and Building Envelope Performance, I lead a group that is responsible for developing the TC's research program, shepherding new proposals through ASHRAE's review process, and monitoring on-going ASHRAE sponsored research. As a voting member of TC 4.4, I am involved in revising chapters for the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals and the Handbook of HVAC Applications. I contribute to TC 1.12, Moisture Management in Buildings, through discussions on handbook chapters, research direction, and conference program sessions. In addition, I attend meetings of Standing Standard Project Committee (SSPC) 160, Criteria for Moisture-Control Design Analysis in Buildings.

    Featured Publications & Products

    Publications & Products

    Research Highlights


    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 ...


    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 publ ...


    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 ...


    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 (F ...


    Last updated on : 04/02/2014