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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Samuel V. Glass

Samuel V. Glass

Research Physical Scientist
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
United States

Phone: 608-231-9401
Fax: 608-231-9303
Contact Samuel V. Glass

Current Research

Wood structures can endure for centuries if they remain sufficiently dry. Many of the challenges of using wood as a structural material (such as mold growth, wood decay, corrosion of fasteners, and dimensional instability) arise from excessive moisture levels or large changes in moisture content.

Dr. Glass leads the Building Moisture and Durability Team within the Building and Fire Sciences Research Work Unit at the Forest Products Laboratory. His research focuses on the relationships between moisture, energy-efficiency, and durability in residential and non-residential wood-based buildings. Primary research objectives include

  • Advancing fundamental research on wood–moisture relations;
  • Quantifying moisture sources in buildings;
  • Developing humidity-control strategies for improved building envelope performance; and
  • Improving the durability of energy-efficient wood-based building envelopes.
  • Research Interests

    • Durability of energy-efficient buildings
    • 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

    Dr. Glass conducted his doctoral research in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He investigated how surfactant films at the gas-liquid interface control gas uptake and evaporation of water. These studies contributed to understanding chemical reactions that occur in sulfuric acid droplets in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, which affect ozone levels.

    Why This Research is Important

    The sustainability and health of America's forests depend on sound conservation practices, including utilization. Efficient use of wood as a green building material is important for climate change mitigation because wood products store carbon for as long as the building exists. The longer the service life, the greater the benefit. Wood products require much less energy to process than other building materials such as steel or concrete, and use of wood produces less air pollution, solid wastes, and greenhouse gases. Efficient wood utilization also reduces the risk and impacts of wildfire, provides incentives for private landowners to maintain forest land, and provides a critical source of jobs in rural America. These benefits hinge on efficient and proper use of wood in construction, and moisture control is essential because of wood's vulnerability to moisture problems. Moisture management is also critical because excessive dampness in buildings has been linked to negative health effects.


    • 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)
    • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Member (2005 - Current)
      Research Subcommittee Chair and Voting Member, Technical Committee (TC) 4.4, Building Materials and Building Envelope Performance. Secretary, Vice Chair, and Voting Member, Standing Standard Project Committee (SSPC) 160, Criteria for Moisture-Control Design Analysis in Buildings. Voting Member, TC 1.12, Moisture Management in Buildings.

    Featured 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 ...


    Development of New Kinetics Models for Water Vapor Sorption in Wood

    Wood is constantly exchanging water with its environment and these exchanges control nearly all of wood's amazing properties. USDA Forest Servic ...


    Improving experimental techniques that probe wood-moisture interactions

    Prior methods using dynamic vapor sorption instruments mischaracterized the equilibrium moisture content of wood. Equilibrium is reached after m ...


    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 ...


    Keeping Wood-Frame Housing Safe and Warm

    Is it okay to add exterior insulation and cover the wood sheathing to make your home even more energy-efficient? USDA Forest Service researchers ...


    Managing Moisture in Energy-efficient Wall Systems

    Moisture durability is critical for design and construction of energy-efficient buildings. Field measurements of moisture characteristics for hi ...


    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 ...


    Monitoring Moisture Levels in Mass Timber Buildings

    Detailed measurements on moisture levels in mass timber buildings in the United States are scarce. USDA Forest Service researchers are working w ...


    Possibilities and Pitfalls of Computer Simulation for Building Moisture Analysis

    Moisture problems are much less expensive to correct in the building design phase than after the building is constructed. Computer-based simulat ...


    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 ...


    Updating a Building Design Standard with Improved Criteria for Preventing Mold Growth

    A consensus standard for building design that addresses moisture control analysis was recently revised to improve the criteria for preventing mo ...


    Wood Construction Goes Beyond Its Traditional Roots

    As interest in sustainable building options continues to grow. Wood construction is going beyond its traditional roots in housing and expanding ...


    Last updated on : 09/21/2020