PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

USDA Forest Products Laboratory

The USDA Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, is the Nation's leading wood research institute. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service created FPL to concentrate federally sponsored wood research under one organization. Research concentrates on pulp and paper products, housing and structural uses of wood, wood preservation, wood and fungi identification, and finishing and restoration of wood products.

The FPL's Advanced Housing Research Center leads the research on wood-frame housing. The center focuses on the evaluation and development of technology needed for new and existing housing in which wood or wood-based products are used as primary or secondary building components. Emphasis is on the improved use of traditional wood products, the use of recycled and engineered wood composite materials, energy and sound efficiency, indoor air quality, an improved living environment, and resistance to natural disasters.

Research conducted by FPL's Advanced Housing Research Center in cooperation with PATH focuses on the following areas:

Current FPL/PATH Research Projects

Outdoor durability of wood-plastic composite lumber
The study will ascertain the durability of wood-plastic composite lumber when exposed over time to fungi and ultraviolet (UV) radiation; determine how additives such as stabilizers, pigments, and fungicides improve UV resistance and fungal durability; and increase knowledge about the ease of scale-up from laboratory to industrial processing equipment.

Panelized roofing systems made from natural fiber and recycled plastic
The project will further develop and refine a new material technology (natural fiber/recycled plastic) in the form of a molded composite roofing system. This research and development project will quantify the durability, installation advantages, time savings, and builders' acceptance of the new roofing product.

Predicting the life span of sealants used in home construction
This research will develop a reliability-based protocol that incorporates both accelerated and outdoor exposures for predicting the service life of various sealants used in construction. This protocol will guide development of standards in cooperation with industry and standard-setting organizations, which in turn will improve industry confidence in accelerated testing.

Increasing the Marketability of Reclaimed Lumber
The project will establish grading criteria (rules), develop engineering property data and reuse options, and propose a grade stamp for reclaimed lumber.

Past FPL/PATH Research Projects

Decay of wood and wood composites under cyclical conditions
This project determined the susceptibility of wood and wood products to decay under wetting cycles with various cycle periods at different temperatures.

Reliability of residential buildings
There were no accepted methods to account for the behavior of residential structures as connected floor, wall, and roof systems. The understanding of this system behavior is especially needed during high winds or seismic shaking. If residential buildings were engineered as systems, engineering analyses would hasten the introduction of new products and innovative building designs, while providing consistent levels of reliability. The project determined building pressure and forces for a 10-mph wind velocity and developed proposed reliability-based general Load Resistant Factor Design procedures for system performance and for connected systems performance.

Content updated on 7/20/2009

 |  |  |  |  |  

Builders Remodelers Manufacturers Design Professionals Affordable Housing Providers Realtors, Appraisers Insurance Industry Financial Services Researchers HOMEOWNERS

Home |  Search PATHnet |  Contact Us |  Privacy Policy

Graphical Version