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Posts tagged: Forest Products Laboratory

How the US Forest Service’s Forest Products Lab Helped Solve the “Crime of the Century”

The ladder used to convict Bruno Hauptmann of kidnapping is seen here in a contemporary crime-scene photograph. Scientists at the Forest Products Laboratory were able to prove that one of the steps used in the ladder was from a plank of wood in Hauptmann’s attic. Forest Service photo.

The ladder used to convict Bruno Hauptmann of kidnapping is seen here in a contemporary crime-scene photograph. Scientists at the Forest Products Laboratory were able to prove that one of the steps used in the ladder was from a plank of wood in Hauptmann’s attic. Forest Service photo.

In the early 1930’s, before the age of DNA and forensics, piecing together the evidence of a crime scene was a difficult task involving fingerprints (if you could get them), eyewitness accounts (if there were any), or a confession (not likely). Law enforcement had none of these as they tried to convict Bruno Hauptmann, the man they believed was guilty of what was then being called the “crime of the century”– the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.

It was amid this national media frenzy that the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Lab would in many ways introduce the concept of forensics into crime solving. Read more »

USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman Promotes Public/Private Partnerships, Meets with Industry Leaders

USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman (front left) meets with FPL researcher John Hunt (front right) as representatives from FPL partner Noble Environmental Technologies look on (in background,  Jim Jensen and Caleb Walker).

USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman (front left) meets with FPL researcher John Hunt (front right) as representatives from FPL partner Noble Environmental Technologies look on (in background, Jim Jensen and Caleb Walker).

A recent visit to the US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory by USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman was an eventful one. Sherman took the opportunity to visit with industry leaders who have collaborated with federal scientists to bring innovative new products to the market. Sherman was at the laboratory on July 25 for a grand opening of the new Nanocellulose Pilot Plant along with scores of industry leaders, scientists and academic researchers. Read more »

USDA Under Secretary Sherman Unveils Nanocellulose Production Facility

The U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory recently opened a $1.7 million production facility for renewable, forest-based nanomaterials.  This facility is the first of its kind in the United States and one that positions the laboratory as the country’s leading producer of these materials, also called nanocellulose.

Nanocellulose is simply wood fiber broken down to the nanoscale. For perspective, a nanometer is roughly one-millionth the thickness of an American dime. Materials at this minute scale have unique properties; nanocellulose-based materials can be stronger than Kevlar fiber and provide high strength properties with low weight. These attributes have attracted the interest of the Department of Defense for use in lightweight armor and ballistic glass. Companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, and medical device industries also see massive potential for these innovative materials. Read more »

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer at Forest Products Lab for Important Wood-to-Energy Roundtable

Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, paid a visit to the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., recently to convene an important roundtable discussion on wood-to-energy concerns in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Among the participants were wood scientists and technology transfer authorities from FPL and Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, representatives from the logging and paper industries, academics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Resource Center, state natural resources officials, and other national and regional Forest Service officials. Read more »

Forest Products Lab Hosts Important Wood-to-Energy Roundtable with Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer

Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, paid a visit to the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., recently to convene an important roundtable discussion on wood-to-energy concerns in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Among the participants were wood scientists and technology transfer authorities from FPL and Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, representatives from the logging and paper industries, academics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Resource Center, state natural resources officials, and other national and regional Forest Service officials. Read more »

Under Pressure at the Forest Products Lab

The largest wood beams ever tested are being studied at the US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis. If you’ve ever wondered what 80,000 pounds of load looks or sounds like when applied to a 72-foot-long, 3-ton wood beam, now’s your chance. Bam! View this short video to get a sense of both the size of these glulam beams and the engineering acumen on display at the FPL. Hint: keep the volume up around the :53 second mark.

Glued laminated (glulam) timbers are a manufactured wood product composed of layers of sawn lumber glued together. Glulam beams are typically used in commercial construction to span large open areas, such as in churches or sporting arenas. They make for both an aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound option.

The FPL is one of the few locations worldwide that has the capacity to test such large wood specimens.  As FPL engineer Doug Rammer explains, that capability is key to determining their strength. Read more »