Wood-Based Composites Center (WBC)
The Wood-Based Composites Center (WBC) advances the science and technology of wood-based composite materials. WBC promotes and coordinates research and education at multiple North American universities; educates and trains students for careers in the wood-based composites and adhesion industries; and provides intellectual exchange and interaction among professionals and students interested in the manufacture and performance of wood-based composites, wood material science, and wood adhesion.
Wood and wood products, which include timber, paper, biofuel, packaging, furniture, and more, have long been critical resources. Increasingly, policymakers and the public recognize that forest industries, whose main products are wood and wood products, play a key role in creating an Earth-friendly strategy for carbon sequestration and reduced fossil fuel reliance. The manufacture of wood products consumes far less fossil fuel than the manufacturing of other materials. Timber management, accelerated reforestation and afforestation, and the simultaneous transfer of carbon to durable wood products will play an essential role in carbon dioxide reduction and energy conservation. Central to the efficient utilization of timber resources is the science and technology of wood-based composite materials.
- Oregon State University
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
WBC research themes are developed and updated by industry members. Research areas include:
Research focused on adhesive and adhesion is a mainstay of the WBC research agenda. This research theme focuses on understanding the interaction between wood and adhesives as well as fundamental knowledge that can support member efforts to develop new and improved resins or products.
- Novel adhesive technology.
- Wood-adhesive interaction.
Alternate materials technology
Addressing the use of nontraditional materials or combinations of materials to produce wood-based composites. Use of alternate technologies may establish the viability of alternate raw materials for improved product performance and/or lower costs. Outcomes of research for this theme will support individual members’ efforts to improve existing products, develop new products, or identify new markets.
- New market development.
- Raw materials.
Impact of process
Portions of the manufacturing process can adversely affect wood quality and adhesive performance. The complexities of mechanical processing, moisture in wood, and pressing must be better understood to help manufacturers balance productivity and quality. Areas that could benefit from fundamental study include:
- Dynamics of the extrusion process.
- Effect of processing parameters on wood viscoelasticity.
- Effect of refining technologies on fiber properties.
- Hot pressing.
- Impact of resin blending technology on adhesive consumption and product performance.
- Influence of temperature and time during processing on adhesive bond performance.
- More efficient use of key raw materials.
- Novel process methodologies.
- Reduced energy input into manufacturing of wood-based composites.
Improved performance and functionality
Addressing the fundamental study of products’ functionality, improved short- or long-term performance, and evaluation methods. Projects focus on specific products or assembled systems and may address:
- Improved performance and durability.
- Newly developed products associated with coatings, treatments, insulation, etc.
- Performance evaluation.