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Highlight IDTitleStrategic Program Area(s)YearStation
Photo of Cellulose nanofibril smart sponge absorbs oil which is floating on the top of water. Bryce Richter, University of Wisconsin
ID: 579
A "Smart Sponge" Soaks Up Pollutants

This "smart sponge" is one of a number of applications under development for the tiny wood fibers known as cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). The fibe ...

Principal Investigator : Zhiyong Cai

Resource Management and Use2014FPL
Photo of Board treated with copper-based preservatives showing premature signs of rot caused by copper-tolerant brown rot fungi. USDA Forest Service
ID: 910
A Knowledge-based Approach for Developing Green Building Solutions

Scientists are using gene discovery to accelerate their understanding of copper tolerance in wood decay fungi and create green solutions for woo ...

Principal Investigator : Juliet D. Tang

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of X-ray fluorescence microscopy maps of concentration of chlorine (bottom) and potassium  (top) ions as a function of relative humidity.  The scale bar represents 20 microns. USDA Forest Service
ID: 887
Advancing Understanding of Wood Damage Mechanisms

Forest Service researchers examined the diffusion of ions in wood using synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy. The researchers found ...

Principal Investigator : Joseph Jakes

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Nanocellulose facility at the Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisc. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
ID: 1126
Alternative Futures for Wood-based Nanomaterials

Forest products researchers are exploring the potential of nano-products from wood. Possible uses of these renewable products could include high ...

Principal Investigator : David N. Bengston

Resource Management and Use2016NRS
Photo of Cellulose nanofibril-based electronics after 60 days of degradation test; fungus fully covers the  film. USDA Forest Service
ID: 896
Biodegradable Computer Chips Made From Wood

The current consumable materials used in the electronics industry are neither recyclable nor sustainable. To reduce the use of expensive materi ...

Principal Investigator : Zhiyong Cai

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Forest Service scientists Alan Rudie (left) and Richard Reiner stand with cellulose nanocrystals manufactured at the Forest Products Laboratory. Steve Schmieding, USDA Forest Service
ID: 578
Cellulose Nano-enabled Products: Applications and Volume Estimates

Cellulose nanomaterials are the next big (albeit, small) thing in wood. They can be combined in numerous ways to change the way many products wo ...

Principal Investigator : Ted Bilek

Resource Management and Use2014FPL
Photo of Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of the formation of silver nanoparticles on the surface of Tunicate CNCs. Robert Moon, Forest Service
ID: 301
Cellulose Nanocrystals

Cellulose nanocrystals are ultra-small rod-like reinforcement material that can be extracted from trees, plants and some sea animals. This new t ...

Principal Investigator : Robert J. Moon

Resource Management and Use2011FPL
Photo of Sequential vacuum treatment of southern pine with naturally occurring cellulose nanocrystals followed by biocide demonstrated penetration of wood before agglomeration occurred (left), but reversing the treatment sequence resulted in agglomeration  on the surface of southern pine (right). USDA Forest Service
ID: 888
Cellulose Nanocrystals Chemically Entrap Biocide in Wood

Can cellulose nanomaterials play a role in the development of novel preservatives to protect wood products from biodeterioration?

Principal Investigator : Carol A. Clausen

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Flexible electronic substrate made from cellulose nanomaterial. Forest Service
ID: 8
Cellulose Nanofiber Composites Can Serve as Substrate for Flexible Electronics

Transparent films made from cellulose nanofibers have low thermal expansion and the potential to serve as a foundation for flexible electronics. ...

Principal Investigator : Ronald C. Sabo

Resource Management and Use2012FPL
Photo of Transmission electron microscope image of cellulose nanocrystals. Robert Moon, USDA Forest Service
ID: 449
Ceramic-Like Thermal Expansion Obtained from Cellulose Nanocrystal Films

One of the unique properties of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are their low dimensional change with changes in temperature. Understanding the rol ...

Principal Investigator : Robert J. Moon

Resource Management and Use2013FPL
Photo of Graphene produced from lignin, a complex polymer commonly derived from wood. Zhiyong Cai, USDA Forest Service
ID: 442
Creating Advanced Graphene Material from Lignin

Graphene materials are produced from carbon containing compounds by physical, thermal, or chemical process in either the gas, liquid, or solid p ...

Principal Investigator : Zhiyong Cai

Resource Management and Use2013FPL
Photo of Atomic force microscope image of nanoindents placed in a Loblolly pine cell wall. For perspective, a typical human hair is about 50 m in diameter. Joseph E. Jakes, Forest Service
ID: 290
Developing tools to assess mechanical properties of wood cell walls

Nanoindentation is a tool capable of probing mechanical properties at the sub-micrometer level, such as in wood cell walls, individual component ...

Principal Investigator : Joseph Jakes

Resource Management and Use2011FPL
Photo of Scanning electron image of cellulose nanocrystals coordinated to the surface of an epoxy particle. Natalie Girouard, Georgia Institute of Technology
ID: 894
Discovery of Cellulose Nanocrystals as Pot-life Stabilizers for Epoxy Coatings

Waterborne epoxy coatings are high-value, sought-after environmentally friendly products in the coating industry mostly due to their ease of use ...

Principal Investigator : Gregory Schueneman

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of FISH with Dryad DNA probe on loblolly pine chromosome spread showing the distribution of Dryad elements on the pine genome (scattered red signals). The green signals are from ribosomal rDNA (18S-28S rDNA). Insert is an interphase nucleus. Nurul Faridi, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
ID: 1098
Early Transfer of DNA from Insects to Pines

Repetitive DNA sequences move across species boundaries relatively often, but rarely occur between kingdoms; however, Forest Service scientists ...

Principal Investigator : C. Dana Nelson

Resource Management and Use2016SRS
Photo of FPL-2017-117
ID: 1289
Enabling cellulose nanomaterial commercialization

Cellulose nanomaterials are a high-value product that can be made from low-value wood.

Principal Investigator : Carl J. Houtman

Water, Air, and Soil
Resource Management and Use
2017FPL
Photo of Nanocellulose (upper left), an engineering plastic (upper right), and compound made from them (center). Test specimens made from the compound (bottom). Craig Clemons, USDA Forest Service
ID: 580
Enhancing High-Performance Plastics with Nanocellulose

Forest Service scientists are using nanocellulose to improve the performance of engineering plastics. By applying advanced processing methods, t ...

Principal Investigator : Craig M. Clemons

Resource Management and Use2014FPL
Photo of TEM micrograph of electrospun polymethyl methacrylate fibers containing 17 weight percent cellulose nano-crystals/Alan Rudie, Forest Service
ID: 283
High Performance nano-Cellulose Composites

Cellulose nano-crystals (CNC) and cellulose nano-fibrils (CNF) provide strength properties equivalent to Kevlar and can be used in optically cle ...

Principal Investigator : Alan W. Rudie

Resource Management and Use2011FPL
Photo of Uniform dispersion and neutral color of a polypropylene: CNC composites produced with solid state shear pulverization (a), and the opposite case for a standard melt mixer composite with excessive thermal degradation (b). Krishnan Iyer, Northwestern University
ID: 892
High-performance Cellulose Nanocrystal Polyolefin Composites are an Attractive Filler for Polymer Composites

Nanocellulose-polypropylene and nanocellulose-polyethylene composites exhibited the greatest improvement ever reported for such composites made ...

Principal Investigator : Gregory Schueneman

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Schematic illustration of the capillary photoelectrochemical water splitting process. Tivoli C. Gough, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
ID: 980
Highly-Efficient Capillary Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting Using Cellulose Nanofiber-Templated TiO2 Photoanodes

Among current endeavors to explore renewable energy technologies, photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting holds great promise for conversion ...

Principal Investigator : Zhiyong Cai

Resource Management and Use2016FPL
Photo of Two-dimensional rendering of three-dimensional chemistry of poplar wood with representative spectra of lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose. Barbara Illman and USDA Forst Service
ID: 914
Imaging Wood Chemicals in Three Dimensions

For the first time, chemicals in wood were visualized in 3-dimensions. This advance in chemical analysis will help clarify scientists’ underst ...

Principal Investigator : Barbara L. Illman

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Plume of the Big Salmon Lake Fire on August 17, 2011: one of 25 fires studied in the Smoke Emission and Dispersion field project. Forest Service
ID: 111
Improved Air-Quality Models Help Land Managers and Regulators

New research helps reduce the effects of wildfire emissions on human health, economic activity, and scenic integrity

Principal Investigator : Shawn P. Urbanski

Wildland Fire and Fuels2012RMRS
Photo of FPL-2017-101
ID: 1271
Improving biopolymers for packaging applications using surface-tailored cellulose nanocrystals

Demand is rapidly increasing for environmentally friendly packaging materials that are derived from renewable resources and are biodegradable, b ...

Principal Investigator : Ronald C. Sabo

Water, Air, and Soil
Resource Management and Use
2017FPL
Photo of Automated sorption balance
ID: 1503
Improving the Accuracy of Automated Instruments for Moisture in Wood

Automated instruments are increasingly used for measuring the equilibrium moisture content of wood. Research finds that common methods have much ...

Principal Investigator : Samuel V. Glass

Water, Air, and Soil
Resource Management and Use
2018FPL
Photo of Image of blown films in lab scale tower showing unstable balloon (with die temperature at 160 degrees Celsius and (b) PLA/L-CNC-0.3 percent composite with stable balloon (with die temperature at 160 degrees Celsius).
ID: 1297
Lignin coated cellulose nanocrystals Increase Shipment Temperature Strength and Allow Blown Film Production

Wood based nanomaterials enable higher use temperatures, greater strength, and faster productions cycles of renewable plastic.

Principal Investigator : Gregory Schueneman

Water, Air, and Soil2017FPL
Photo of A bat with an attached GPS tag. Ted Weller, USDA Forest Service
ID: 815
Long-term Attachment of Miniature Data-loggers Reveal Novel Aspects of Bat Ecology

Migratory routes used by bats and their behavior during migration have long been difficult to ascertain. Data logging tags were attached to hoar ...

Principal Investigator : Ted Weller

Inventory and Monitoring2015PSW
Photo of Surface color of modified (B, C, D) and unmodified (A) western red cedar before (0 h) and after (720 h) of artificial weathering in a WeatherOmeter. Steve Schmieding, Forest Service
ID: 305
Lumen filling and sol-gel reinforcement of the wood cell wall

FPL researchers used a two-prong strategy to enhance weathering properties of wood. This dual treatment showed promise in protecting wood agains ...

Principal Investigator : Rebecca E. Ibach

Resource Management and Use2011FPL
Photo of Wood char particles and carbon-encapsulated iron nanoparticles. Forest Service
ID: 4
Metal Core Nanoparticles Created From Wood Char, a Bioenergy Byproduct

Shell-encapsulated metal core carbon nanoparticles have potential applications in magnetic data storage, xerography, drug delivery, and as a cat ...

Principal Investigator : Zhiyong Cai

Resource Management and Use2012FPL
Photo of 1) Schematic of lactic acid grafting on polylactic acid (PLA)
2) Image of composites made with modified cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) (left) and unmodified CNFs (right)
ID: 1495
Modifying Cellulose Nanomaterials for Wet Compounding into Polylactic Acid

Cellulose nanomaterials (CNMs) have been demonstrated to significantly improve various properties, including mechanical and barrier performance, ...

Principal Investigator : Ronald C. Sabo

Resource Management and Use
Water, Air, and Soil
2018FPL
Photo of Continuous fiber spun from nanocellulose and other polymers and additives. Craig Clemons, USDA Forest Service
ID: 443
Nanocellulose Gels Spun Into Continuous Fibers for Use in Advanced Composites

Forest Service scientists worked with the University of Wisconsin to spin nanocellulose gels into continuous fibers so that they can be used mor ...

Principal Investigator : Craig M. Clemons

Resource Management and Use2013FPL
Photo of Manufacturing process of the triboelectric fiberboard.
ID: 1290
Nanocellulose-based triboelectric nanogenerator for green and sustainable electricity generation

Triboelectric nanogenerator fiberboard made from recycled wood fibers and functionalized cellulose nanofibril films demonstrates the possibility ...

Principal Investigator : Zhiyong Cai

Resource Management and Use
Water, Air, and Soil
2017FPL
Photo of FPL's Rick Reiner (right) toured USDA Under Secretary Sherman (left) through the nanocellulose facility, explaining its capabilities and the promise this new material offers to a wide variety of industries. Steve Schmieding, Forest Service
ID: 14
New Cellulose Nanomaterials Pilot Plant Keeps Up With Market Demand

Materials are being supplied to three government agencies and six partner universities to accelerate the development of advanced cellulose-reinf ...

Principal Investigator : Alan W. Rudie

Resource Management and Use2012FPL
Photo of The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest Service
ID: 588
New Insight into Wood Damage Mechanisms

Wood fails because bad things start to happen when wood gets wet. Dimensional stability, mold growth, fungal attack, fastener corrosion, all are ...

Principal Investigator : Joseph Jakes

Resource Management and Use2014FPL
Photo of The localized stiffness of thin paper materials can now be measured with a single test. Thinkstock
ID: 444
New Method Measures Localized Stiffness of Thin Paper Materials with a Single Test

Forest Products Laboratory researchers have developed a method to measure localized stiffness of thin paper materials with a single test. Althou ...

Principal Investigator : John M. Considine

Resource Management and Use2013FPL
Photo of Preliminary state diagram of water in wood constructed from literature data on the glass transitions of wood polymers and calorimetric studies on water in wood Samuel Zelinka, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
ID: 979
New Model for Understanding the Fiber Saturation Point of Wood

The fiber saturation point is a key measure of how much water can be held within wood before free water forms in empty spaces within wood struct ...

Principal Investigator : Richard Bergman, PhD

Resource Management and Use2016FPL
Photo of
ID: 76
New Techniques Improve National Emissions Inventory for Wildland Fire

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using new techniques to create the next national emissions inventory for wildland fire

Principal Investigator : Sim Larkin

Wildland Fire and Fuels2012PNW
Photo of Photograph of autonomous testing robot with sealants and load cells mounted within. 
ID: 1501
Outdoor Strain Cycling Robot Reveals Key Durability Factors for Building Sealants

Outdoor durability testing of building sealants by autonomous robot demonstrates advantages of summer over winter installation and the dominant ...

Principal Investigator : Gregory Schueneman

Resource Management and Use
Water, Air, and Soil
2018FPL
Photo of The structure model of the new glycoside hydrolase family 30-8 (GH30-8) xylanase (green) overlaid with the previously determined protein structure of a canonical GH30-8 xylanase (blue) indicating that although the new xylanase is functionally unique, it does not structurally differ from the canonical GH30-8 xylanases (top). An alignment showing the specific region of primary amino acid sequence containing the altered sequence (red boxes) attributed to the observed difference in mode of action of this new enzyme against its xylan substrate. USDA Forest Service
ID: 893
Protein Structure and Biochemical Characterization of a Novel Functioning Xylanase

Scientists identified and characterized a xylanase with unique function that may have applications in processing of woody biomass substrate.

Principal Investigator : Franz St. John

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Screenshot of Hardwood Log Sawing Program showing control panel, log end and side views. Ed Thomas, USDA Forest Service
ID: 485
RAYSAW Computer Program Can Grade Hardwood Logs and Calculate its Value

RAYSAW is a computer program developed by Forest Service scientists for hardwood log sawing that processes high-resolution laser-scanned hardwoo ...

Principal Investigator : Ed Thomas

Resource Management and Use2013NRS
Photo of Forest Service researchers are developing films for water decontamination using cellulose nanofibers. Thinkstock
ID: 450
Removing Organic Compounds from Water with Reusable Nanofiber Films

Researchers produced films for water decontamination using cellulose nanofibers as a matrix material for the suspension of photocatalytic nano p ...

Principal Investigator : Robert J. Moon

Resource Management and Use2013FPL
Photo of Image 1: A picture of PbXynA1 (an xylanases enzyme) with the a xylooligosaccharide (sugar polymer) bound into the active site. Image 2: A close up revealing a large pocket not previously observed in other xylanases (enzymes) of this family. Franz St John, USDA Forest Service
ID: 452
Researchers Determine the Structure of Bacterial Protein Involved in Biomass Conversion

Researchers structurally characterized a bacterial protein involved in biomass degradation. The knowledge obtained from this novel protein sugge ...

Principal Investigator : Franz St. John

Resource Management and Use2013FPL
Photo of Sulphur-flower buckwheat seed. Forest Service
ID: 122
Scientists Conserve the Seeds of Today To Propagate the Best Adapted Plants of Tomorrow

Project is aimed at restoring damaged grasslands, shrublands, and deserts

Principal Investigator : Nancy L. Shaw

Outdoor Recreation
Resource Management and Use
2012RMRS
Photo of Contemplating the future of forests, Illinois, USA. International Society of Arboriculture
ID: 603
Scientists Examine the Future of Forests in the Anthropocene

Forest Service researchers analyzed the major issues and factors affecting forests in the decades ahead: deforestation, mega-fires, urban forest ...

Principal Investigator : David N. Bengston

Resource Management and Use
Water, Air, and Soil
Wildland Fire and Fuels
2014NRS
Photo of Phase diagram describing the states of water in wood.
ID: 1282
Scientists study how water changes wood

Water causes a host of wood damage mechanisms such as mold, decay, fastener corrosion, and splitting. This research elucidates how water chan ...

Principal Investigator : Samuel L. Zelinka

Resource Management and Use
Water, Air, and Soil
2017FPL
Photo of Short cellulose nanofibrils isolated from wood. DSimaging, LLC
ID: 587
Short Cellulose Nanofibrils Reinforce Aligned Polyvinyl Alcohol Fibers

Cellulose nanomaterials have recently gained much attention for their potential use for reinforcing polymers and for use in functional materials ...

Principal Investigator : Ronald C. Sabo

Resource Management and Use2014FPL
Photo of
ID: 1299
Understanding how the organization and interactions of the atoms that compose wood control its mechanical properties

To expand the uses and efficient utilization of wood, Forest Service researchers strive to learn how manipulate its molecular-scale structure t ...

Principal Investigator : Joseph Jakes

Resource Management and Use
Water, Air, and Soil
2017FPL
Photo of New model of wood cellulose in never-dried and dried states. Umesh Agarwal,  USDA Forest Service.
ID: 913
Using Raman Spectroscopy to Analyze Wood, Cellulose-Nanomaterials, and Their Composites

Raman spectroscopy provides information based on molecular vibrations and is well-suited to analyze wood and cellulose-nanomaterials. Using a r ...

Principal Investigator : Umesh P. Agarwal

Resource Management and Use2015FPL
Photo of Researchers are studying the freezing and melting of water in solid wood to learn about wood decay and faster corrosion processes. Tatiana Morozova, shutterstock.com
ID: 15
Water Freezing in Wood: How Low Can It Go

The freezing and melting of water in wood gives clues about how water bonds to wood during processes such as wood decay and fastener corrosion

Principal Investigator : Samuel L. Zelinka

Resource Management and Use2012FPL
Photo of Experimental disturbance killing native plants facilitates invasion by tall tumblemustard, cheatgrass, lamb's quarters, prickly lettuce, Canada thistle, bull thistle, sweetclover, bulbous bluegrass, and herb Sophia. Forest Service
ID: 142
Why Do the Exotics Beat the Natives: Where Is the Home-Team Advantage

New research sets forth a framework for understanding why exotic plants invade and how to fight the invasions

Principal Investigator : Dean E. Pearson

Invasive Species2012RMRS