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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Christopher G. Hunt

Christopher G. Hunt

Research Chemist
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison
Wisconsin
United States
53726-2398

Phone: 608-231-9521
Contact Christopher G. Hunt


Current Research

My current research is focused on understanding how the structure of wood and wood products determine properties. Current specific applications include:

We recently made a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms that control diffusion through cell walls. The movement of chemicals (including water) through cell walls is a critial step in many processes, such as making fuel and chemicals from wood, wood bonding, painting wood, wood decay, corrosion of fasteners in wood products, and even future applications like flexible electronics from wood. Some specific examples include:

Explaining the mechanism of wood modifications that stop wood from rotting, so that we can develop more cost effective modifications.

Improving pretreatment protocols for converting wood into chemicals, to improve the efficiency of biomass conversion.

Improving our understanding of how durable bonds are made between wood and adhesives or paints, so that wood products deliver better performance over a longer lifespan.

Based on my adhesive expertise, I also have a program focused on understanding how soy adhesives for wood develop their wet strength. Working with the United Soybean Board and Solenis, an adhesive manufacturer, I am discovering what gives soy adhesives their strength, so that we can replace even more fossil-fuel-based wood adhesives with soybeans or other bio-based alternatives.

Current techniques in use in my lab are microscopy/imaging, confocal microscopy, synchrotron x-ray fluorescence, image analysis, GPC, DMA, and a variety of mechanical tests. I cooperate closely with others using a wide variety of other techniques including but not limited to DSC, electrical conductivity, neutron scattering, and nanoindentation.

Past Research

I have been closely involved with:
3-D wet forming and pressing of fiber,
paper photo-aging,
the effect of biopulping (growing white rot fungus on wood chips prior to mechanical pulping) on wood,
fungal decay mechanisms,
mapping oxidation from decay fungi at the micron scale,
mapping protein and metabolite penetration,
mapping protein interactions with biomass
mapping how fungi interact with biomass, effecting fungal morphology, protein expression,
fungi as wood adhesives,
adhesive interactions with wood,
heat resistance of adhesives,
adhesive durability,
sealant durability, and
understanding bonding in soy adhesives.

Why This Research is Important

My research on wood properties allows companies to produce better quality, less expensive traditional wood products for American consumers. I also develop knowledge which will enables industry to create whole new materials from wood. This makes American forest products more attractive, bringing jobs and income to rural America while utilizing an abundant domestic renewable resource.

Education

  • University of Wisconsin - Madison, Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry 2006
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison, B.S. Physics and Mathematics Secondary Education 1991

Professional Experience

  • Research Chemist, Forest Products Laboratory
    2005 - Current
  • Research Support, Forest Products Laboratory
    1993 - 2004

Featured Publications & Products

Publications

Research Highlights

HighlightTitleYear


FPL-2010-001
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 ...

2010


FPL-2015-200
How Does Wood Decay Start?

How do fungi rot wood? Using new tools, fluorescent dye attached to tiny beads, and laser confocal microscopy, Forest Service scientists were ab ...

2015


FPL-2016-67
New Test of Raw Material Quality Improves the Strength of Wood Laminates

Plywood and laminated veneer lumber are built from wood veneers. Because the test for surface quality of the veneer was not very useful, Forest ...

2016


FPL-2020-109
Seeing is Believing: Finding the Right Enzyme for the Job

Scientists light up enzymes to show each one’s role in taking wood apart.

2020


FPL-2013-137
Success of Wood Veneers Influenced by Harvesting Season and Temperature: Plywood Performance and Failure: A New Understanding

Cooperation with Finnish researchers results in new understanding of relationships between veneer processing, veneer properties, and product fai ...

2013


FPL-2016-72
Using Soybeans to Replace Synthetic Adhesives for Wood Bonding

Soybeans were used to glue the first plywood but were replaced by fossil-fuel-based adhesives after World War II. Scientists at the Forest Servi ...

2016


FPL-2018-21
X-Ray Methods to Observe and Quantify Adhesive Penetration into Wood

To accelerate development of new and improved wood adhesives for engineered wood products, researchers are working to understand the optimal adh ...

2018


Last updated on : 08/27/2021