Additional Participants


Donald Strong

Organizational Partners

APA the Engineered Wood Association
USDA Forest Products Laboratory
Maine Technology Institute
BP Amoco
Dow Chemical Company

Project Period

July 1, 1998-August 31, 2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This action is in response to the Major Research Instrumentation Initiative MRI'98 (NSF-98-16). The purpose is to upgrade a Composite-Reinforced-Wood (CRW) Manufacturing Science Laboratory at the University of Maine. The laboratory is part of a new facility designed to develop the next generation of wood composites for construction.

Recent research has shown that Composite Reinforced Wood (CRW) offers superior properties at reduced costs. As in the development of reinforced and prestressed concrete, basic research is needed to unlock the full potential of a wide variety of CRW structural members, e.g. joists, beams, columns, panel and connections. CRW hybrids are unique in that two very different classes of material, FRP and wood are used together; thus the principles governing the short and long-term structural behavior differ in many ways form those involving only one of the two materials. This project will focus on:

Developing a new class of FRP reinforcing materials that are compatible with wood, particularly its hypoexpansion and visco-elastic properties.

Developing and maintaining over time the interface (bond) between the two materials needed to ensure full composite action (this will require a basic understanding of the mechanisms of bond durability).

Developing a basic understanding of the short and long-term behavior of CRW structural elements including performance over the full range of loading, ultimate strength, ductility, creep, fatigue, and moisture/temperature/UV cycling.

The research is conducted at four different levels: micro, meso, macro and structural. A multi-disciplinary team will conduct the research composing ten engineers and scientists from three units at the University of Maine (civil/structural engineering, wood science and technology, and chemical engineering), the industry-supported SPI composites Institute, the Composites Materials Engineering Center (COMTEC) in Winona MN, and the USDA Forest Products laboratory in Madison.

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