Toxic wood products, such as formaldehyde-laced laminated veneer, may soon go the way of leaded gasoline.
Safer, greener wood products are on the horizon thanks to a novel research partnership funded by the National Science Foundation. Backed by a five-year NSF grant, Oregon State University and Virginia Tech will collaborate with a veritable who’s-who of private wood-products companies to design a new generation of environmentally friendly wood-based composite materials. Weyerhauser, Jeld-Wen and six other leading companies are kicking in $30,000 each.
With matching funds from Oregon BEST (Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies), the new Industry/University Cooperative Research Center will have total support of $2.2 million to investigate new generations of adhesives, plywood and other materials for building homes, offices, schools and other spaces where people live and work.
“OSU and Virginia Tech are both international leaders in wood science and technology,” notes Fred Kamke, a wood sciences professor who will direct the new center at OSU. “This major new initiative will build on those strengths. Composite products allow for more efficient, sophisticated and competitive uses of wood, and they’re the future of the wood products industry.”