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Individual Highlight

Scientists study how water changes wood

Photo of Phase diagram describing the states of water in wood. Phase diagram describing the states of water in wood. Snapshot : 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.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Zelinka, Samuel L.Glass, Samuel V.
Jakes, Joseph 
Research Location : Forest Products Laboratory
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1282


A fundamental understanding of wood-moisture relations is the cornerstone for designing and building durable wood structures; however, one of the most important concepts in wood-moisture relations, the fiber saturation point, has been given several different theoretical and operational definitions and its current meaning is ambiguous. This research presents a thermodynamics method for calculating the fiber saturation point by treating the fiber saturation point as a phase boundary and shows how this concept can be used to build a phase diagram for wood. The phase diagram includes the glass transitions of various wood polymers and the states of water in wood as a function of temperature and composition.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • University of Wisconsin, Madison