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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Craig Clemons

Craig M. Clemons

Materials Research Engineer
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
United States

Phone: 608-231-9396
Contact Craig M. Clemons

Current Research

Dr. Clemons' research seeks to overcome technical limitations currently preventing the expanded use polymer composites made with fillers and reinforcements derived from wood or other natural fibers or discover new types of composites made from them. These composites constitute a broad class of materials that range from composites of recycled plastics, wood flour, and various additives to high-performance composites from engineering polymers and nanocellulose, for example.

Though some of these composites (e.g., early wood-flour-filled thermosets – “bakelite”) have been around since the early 1900's, current research usually involves dynamic market segments or rapidly emerging technology areas such as biopolymers or nano-scale fillers and reinforcements that may lead to composites with very different characteristics (e.g., transparency) than those that have been historically produced.

Major research objectives include:

  • Understanding and optimizing the influences of constituent materials on the behavior of wood-polymer composites and cellulose nanocomposites
  • Developing and optimizing composite preparation methods
  • Relating microstructure and morphology to composite behavior
  • Using wood-polymer composite technology as a tool to restore damaged ecosystems and promote resource sustainability

Research Interests

  • Cellulose nanocomposites
  • Materials science and processing of composites from wood or other natural fibers and plastics
  • Microstructural influences on composite performance
  • Durability of wood-plastic composites
  • Composites from recycled materials

Why This Research is Important

Expanding the use polymer composites made with fillers and reinforcements derived from wood or other natural fibers have the potential to impact a variety of forest service and societal goals. These composites could offer significant outlets for wood-based materials from manufacturing residues, recovered post-consumer wood-based materials, and other recycled and underutilized forest-based resources in cost effective, durable products, for example. They also offer an opportunity for reducing the non-renewable content of petroleum-based plastics by adding a sustainable reinforcement. Discovering new technologies or applying emerging ones to wood-based composites could create high-performance and high-value composites that could make wood more competitive with other materials, move wood into entirely new markets, or favorably influence the economics of the biorefinery platform, for example.


  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Ph.D. Materials Science 2000
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, M.S. Forestry 1990
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, B.S. Chemical Engineering 1988

Professional Organizations

  • Society of Plastics Engineers, Member

Featured Publications & Products



Research Highlights


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 ...


Improved Composites from Wood Flour and Mixed Plastics

In a cooperative project with Louisiana State University, Forest Products Laboratory researchers have used crosslinking technologies, commonly u ...


Increasing the Value of Slash by Use in Oriented Strand Board

The project takes a closer look at chunkwood processing first developed in 1977 at the Northern Research Station lab in Houghton, MI. Branches a ...


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 ...


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 ...


Softening of Biomass and Its Effect on Fuel Pellet Production

Biomass such as torrefied wood or wheat straw are of increasing interest as fuel but are difficult to pelletize. Researchers are investigating t ...


Wood-Plastic Composites Improved with Glass

Adding microsized glass particles to wood-plastic composites creates a less dense but stiffer material for use in a variety of building applicat ...


Last updated on : 08/13/2021