Scholarly Works, Sustainable Biomaterials

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Research articles, presentations, and other scholarship


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  • Synthesis and Characterization of Poly(Butylene Sebacate-Co-Terephthalate) Copolyesters with Pentaerythritol as Branching Agent
    Jang, Hyunho; Kwon, Sangwoo; Kim, Sun Jong; Kim, Young-Teck; Park, Su-il (MDPI, 2023-12-19)
    Poly(butylene sebacate-co-terephthalate) (PBSeT) copolyesters are prepared by melt polymerization via two-step transesterification and polycondensation using pentaerythritol (PE) as a branching agent. The effects of the incorporated PE on its chemical, thermal, mechanical, and degradation properties, along with the rheological properties of its melt, are investigated. The highest molecular weight and intrinsic viscosity along with the lowest melt flow index were achieved at a PE content of 0.2 mol%, with minimal reduction in the tensile strength and the highest tear strength. The addition of PE did not significantly influence the thermal behavior and stability of the PBSeT copolyesters; however, the elongation at break decreased with increasing PE content. The sample with 0.2 mol% PE exhibited a higher storage modulus and loss modulus as well as a lower loss angle tangent than the other samples, indicating improved melt elasticity. The incorporation of more than 0.2 mol% PE enhanced the enzymatic degradation of copolyesters. In summary, including within 0.2 mol%, PE effectively improved both the processability-related characteristics and degradation properties of PBSeT copolyesters, suggesting their potential suitability for use in agricultural and packaging materials.
  • Producing Structural Grade Hardwood Lumber as a Raw Material for Cross-Laminated Timber: Yield and Economic Analysis
    Adhikari, Sailesh; Bond, Brian H.; Quesada, Henry Jose (2024-02)
    The economic feasibility of producing structural-grade hardwood lumber (SGHL) that qualifies as a raw material for structurally rated cross-laminated timber (CLT) was examined. 126 yellow poplar logs from diameters 12 to 15 inches were selected and divided into test and control samples. A log yield study was then conducted of the yield and revenue generated when producing lumber graded with National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) rules, SGHL rules, and a mix of both rules (NHLA and SGHL-graded lumber). Producing mix-grade lumber added approximately 27% more revenue than producing NHLA-grade lumber on average if sawmills adopt a cant sawing method. Mix-grade lumber production resulted in 32% of the total volume produced as SGHL and the remaining 68% as NHLA lumber. As a result, 2 Common and lower-grade lumber board footage was reduced to only 29% in test samples and remained converted into SGHL compared to more than 85% of 2 Common and lower-grade lumber boards for control samples. 95% of the SGHL produced as mixed-graded lumber with NHLA-grade lumber met the specifications required to produce structural CLT, and the remaining 5% can be utilized to produce non-structural grade CLTs if they meet the minimum requirement of the materials for CLT production.
  • Adhesive Bonding Performance of Thermally Modified Yellow Poplar
    Masoumi, Abasali; Balma, Francisco Xavier Zambrano; Bond, Brian H. (2023-10-16)
    Thermal modification of wood changes its chemical, physical, and structural properties, which may affect adhesive bondline quality and bonding performance. This research compared the effect of thermal modification on the adhesive bonding performance of poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) wood. Samples were prepared from thermally modified and unmodified yellow poplar using one-component polyurethane (PUR) and polyvinyl acetate (PVA), as they are adhesives used in wood products. Microscopic properties of the bondlines were investigated to understand shear performance and durability. Adhesive line thickness, penetration, shear strength, and moisture durability were measured, and failure modes were recorded. Thermal modification negatively affected the wood and adhesive interaction by reducing penetration (31.2% in PUR and 29% in PVA), therefore creating a thicker adhesive line (70% in PUR and 2% in PVA) and consequently causing a significant reduction in the shear strength of both adhesive types (27% in PUR and 36% in PVA) compared with non-modified specimens. The PUR adhesive had higher shear strength than PVA by 2.7% in non-modified and 14% in thermally modified wood.
  • Editorial: In celebration of women in science: glycoscience
    Roman, Maren; Chandran, Preethi L.; Haurat, M. Florencia (Frontiers, 2023-05)
  • Sustainable and Secure Transport: Achieving Environmental Impact Reductions by Optimizing Pallet-Package Strength Interactions during Transport
    Kim, Saewhan; Horvath, Laszlo; Russell, Jennifer D.; Park, Jonghun (MDPI, 2023-08-22)
    Increasing quantities of products are being transported across widely distributed supply networks; the sustainability of the packaging used to transport these goods, or unit loads, presents an area of potential concern. The most common type of unit load in the U.S. is wooden pallets supporting various configurations of stacked corrugated boxes. Research into unit load cost optimization revealed that increasing the stiffness of a pallet’s top deck can significantly affect the strength of the assembled, stacked corrugated boxes and provides opportunities to reduce the board grade required for accompanying corrugated boxes. However, there remains a knowledge gap regarding the environmental implications of this type of unit load optimization method. To address this, we conducted a life cycle analysis (LCA) to investigate the environmental implications of optimizing a unit load using this method. The environmental impacts of paired (pallet and box) unit load design scenarios (n = 108) were investigated using varied wood species, pallet top deck thicknesses, corrugated boxes sizes, corrugated flutes, and board grades. Initial and optimized unit load scenarios ensured that the unit loads offered equivalent performance. LCA results indicate that optimizing the unit load can reduce environmental impacts by up to 23%, with benefits accruing across most impact categories primarily due to the reduction in corrugated material used. Ozone depletion, the exception, was mainly affected by the increase in the amount of required pallet materials. This study provides minimum required conditions as preliminary guidance for determining the usefulness of unit load specific analysis, and a sensitivity analysis confirmed these values remain unchanged even with different transportation distances. Through the unit load optimization method, this study demonstrates that an effective way to reduce the overall environmental impact and cost of transported unit loads involves increasing the stiffness of the top decks and reducing the corrugated board grade.
  • International Supply Chain Handling Practices and the Quality of Heat-treated, White Oak Veneer Logs
    Chen, Zhangjing; White, Marshall; Mack, Ron; Rider, Daniel; Reddy, Vijay; O'Neill, Susan (North Carolina State University Department of Wood & Paper Science, 2023-05)
    The most promising alternative to the methyl bromide fumigation of exported logs is steam-heating the log in a vacuum. Research has confirmed that steam heating to 56 degrees C for 30 minutes kills all viable propagules of oak wilt pathogen (Bretziella fagacearum) in the sapwood of oak logs. The purpose of this study was to determine whether this heattreatment method has any effect on the quality or value of white oak veneer logs shipped between the US and EU. Seventeen steam- and vacuum-treated and seventeen untreated control logs were shipped from Baltimore, Maryland to the Czech Republic, for processing into veneer, between December 2021 and February 2022. The treated and untreated logs were sawn into flitches, soaked in hot water vats, sliced, dried, and the veneer from each log was graded for quality. Each log was assigned a value based on the veneer quality and yield. The average value of treated log was 1,547 euro/m3, and the average value of the untreated logs was 1,539 euro/m3. The null hypothesis was statistically confirmed. Therefore, it is concluded that the 56 degrees C/30 min, sapwood heat treatment using vacuum and saturated steam had no adverse impact on the value of the white oak veneer logs.
  • TEMPO-Oxidized Cellulose Nanofibril Films Incorporating Graphene Oxide Nanofillers
    Kim, Yoojin; Kim, Young-Teck; Wang, Xiyu; Min, Byungjin; Park, Su-il (MDPI, 2023-06-11)
    To design a new system of novel TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibrils (TOCNs)/graphene oxide (GO) composite, 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl radical (TEMPO)-mediated oxidation was utilized. For the better dispersion of GO into the matrix of nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC), a unique process combining high-intensity homogenization and ultrasonication was adopted with varying degrees of oxidation and GO percent loadings (0.4 to 2.0 wt%). Despite the presence of carboxylate groups and GO, the X-ray diffraction test showed that the crystallinity of the bio-nanocomposite was not altered. In contrast, scanning electron microscopy showed a significant morphological difference in their layers. The thermal stability of the TOCN/GO composite shifted to a lower temperature upon oxidation, and dynamic mechanical analysis signified strong intermolecular interactions with the improvement in Young’s storage modulus and tensile strength. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was employed to observe the hydrogen bonds between GO and the cellulosic polymer matrix. The oxygen permeability of the TOCN/GO composite decreased, while the water vapor permeability was not significantly affected by the reinforcement with GO. Still, oxidation enhanced the barrier properties. Ultimately, the newly fabricated TOCN/GO composite through high-intensity homogenization and ultrasonification can be utilized in a wide range of life science applications, such as the biomaterial, food, packaging, and medical industries.
  • Vacuum Steam Treatment of Metrosideros polymorpha Logs for Eradication of Ceratocystis huliohia and C. lukuohia
    Juzwik, Jennifer; Hughes, Marc A.; Chen, Zhangjing; Yang, Anna; Keith, Lisa M.; White, Marshall S. (American Phytopathological Society, 2022-04)
    A new and devastating disease, rapid ohia death (ROD), in Hawaii led to a state quarantine that regulates interisland transport of ohia wood and plant material to prevent spread of the causal pathogens. Heat treatments of ohia logs in commercial trade were considered for phytosanitary treatment. Vacuum steam (VS) was evaluated for its ability to eradicate the pathogens, Ceratocystis lukuohia and C. huliohia, in main stem logs from ROD-affected forest trees. Replicate loads of three debarked logs (24 to 43 cm in diameter, 1.7 to 2.0 m long) were VS treated at 56 degrees C for 30 min (five loads) or 60 degrees C for 60 min (four loads) at a sapwood depth equal to 70% of log radius. Percentage isolation of Ceratocystis from VS and ambient temperature logs before treatment and summarized by source tree ranged from 12 to 66% and 6 to 31% based on carrot baiting assays of tissue taken from outer and inner sapwood, respectively. No viable Ceratocystis was detected in sapwood locations for the 60 degrees C/60 min schedule or inner locations for the 56 degrees C/30 min schedule after treatment. Only one subsample (0.48%, n = 208) of the latter schedule treatment yielded Ceratocystis. Time needed for treatment ranged from 7.4 to 15 h for the 56 degrees C/30 min schedule and from 8.6 to 19.2 h for the 60 degrees C/60 min schedule. These results demonstrate that VS is an effective and efficient method for treating large-diameter ohia logs that mill owners and regulatory plant pathologists may consider for use in Hawaii.
  • Multi-axis alignment of Rod-like cellulose nanocrystals in drying droplets
    Pritchard, Cailean Q.; Navarro, Fernando; Roman, Maren; Bortner, Michael J. (Elsevier, 2021-12)
    Hypothesis: Radial capillary flow in evaporating droplets carry suspended nanoparticles to its periphery where they are deposited and form a coffee-ring. Rod-like nanoparticles seeking to minimize their capillary energy will align with their long-axis parallel to the contact line. Particles exhibiting electrostatic repulsion, such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), establish a competition between capillary flow-induced impingement against a growing coffee-ring and entropic minimization leading to enhanced particle mobility. Therefore, balancing these effects by manipulating the local particle concentration in drying droplets should result in deposition with a controlled orientation of CNCs. Experiments: The dynamic local order in aqueous suspensions of CNCs in evaporating sessile droplets was investigated through time-resolved polarized light microscopy. The spatial distribution of alignment in deposited CNCs was explored as a function of nanoparticle concentration, droplet volume, initial degree of anisotropy, and substrate hydrophobicity. Computational analysis of the rotational Péclet number during evaporation was also investigated to evaluate any effects of shear-induced alignment. Findings: Multiple modes of orientation were identified suggesting local control over CNC orientation and subsequent properties can be attained via droplet-based patterning methods. Specifically, high local particle concentrations led to tangential alignment and lower local particle concentrations resulted in new evidence for radial alignment near the center of dried droplets.
  • Predicting the Effect of Pallet Overhang on the Box Compression Strength
    Kim, Saewhan; Horvath, Laszlo; Molina, Eduardo; Frank, Benjamin; Johnson, Steven; Johnson, Alonda (2023)
    Unit loads, consisting of pallets and corrugated boxes, are one of the primary forms of storage and distribution of packaged products. The corrugated box’s compression strength can easily be affected by environmental parameters, such as pallet overhang, which reduce a box’s effective compression strength. The effects of overhang on box compression strength have been investigated by multiple researchers, but each previous study used its own unique set of different sizes of boxes made from different materials, limiting the broad comparability of the results and challenging strong statistical analysis. The current study, performed on behalf of the Fibre Box Association and ICPF, aimed to investigate the effects of pallet overhang on box compression strength using four different sizes of corrugated boxes, made from two different board combinations, in order to compare existing values in the Fibre Box Handbook, and potentially explore the possibility of developing a more universal model for predicting the effects of pallet overhang. The four sizes of boxes, for each nominal 32 ECT C-flute and nominal 48 ECT BC-flute corrugated materials, were examined in over a dozen single-side overhang configurations and five adjacent-side overhang scenarios. Compression tests were conducted in compliance with the TAPPI 804 standard. A range of multiple linear and nonlinear regression models based on these test results were developed for this study. These models provide the estimated change in a box’s compression strength due to any overhang, compared to a no-overhang scenario, by percentage. As expected from earlier work, effective box compression strength decreases as the magnitude of overhang increases. Significant differences were found when the same overhang was investigated on the width versus the length side of the boxes. It was also observed that the magnitude of the adjacent-side overhang effect on box compression strength is not simply related to the combination of short and long sides’ overhang effects, but it has a unique effect that is most likely related to the loss of additional box corner support as compared to single side box overhang. The box size relative to the amount of overhang was also a statistically significant factor affecting effective box compression strength in the tested overhang scenarios. This work also indicated the need for further research refining the first-order model and extending it to other materials, box sizes, and box aspect ratios.
  • A New Method to Determine Antioxidant Activities of Biofilms Using a pH Indicator (Resazurin) Model System
    Kim, Young-Teck; Kimmel, Robert; Wang, Xiyu (MDPI, 2023-02-23)
    Biopolymeric films were prepared with gelatin, plasticizer, and three different types of antioxidants (ascorbic acid, phytic acid, and BHA) corresponding to different mechanisms in activity. The antioxidant activity of films was monitored for 14 storage days upon color changes using a pH indicator (resazurin). The instant antioxidant activity of films was measured by a DPPH free radical test. The system using resazurin was composed of an agar, an emulsifier, and soybean oil to simulate a highly oxidative oil-based food system (AES-R). Gelatin-based films (GBF) containing phytic acid showed higher tensile strength and energy to break than all other samples due to the increased intermolecular interactions between phytic acid and gelatin molecules. The oxygen barrier properties of GBF films containing ascorbic acid and phytic acid increased due to the increased polarity, while GBF films containing BHA showed increased oxygen permeability compared to the control. According to “a-value” (redness) of the AES-R system tested with films, films incorporating BHA showed the most retardation of lipid oxidation in the system. This retardation corresponds to 59.8% antioxidation activity at 14 days, compared with the control. Phytic acid-based films did not show antioxidant activity, whereas ascorbic acid-based GBFs accelerated the oxidation process due to its prooxidant activity. The comparison between the DPPH free radical test and the control showed that the ascorbic acid and BHA-based GBFs showed highly effective free radical scavenging behavior (71.7% and 41.7%, respectively). This novel method using a pH indicator system can potentially determine the antioxidation activity of biopolymer films and film-based samples in a food system.
  • Effects of Chitosan Molecular Weight and Degree of Deacetylation on Chitosan-Cellulose Nanocrystal Complexes and Their Formation
    Wang, Hezhong; Roman, Maren (MDPI, 2023-01-31)
    This study was conducted to determine the effects of chitosan molecular weight and degree of deacetylation (DD) on chitosan–cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) polyelectrolyte–macroion complexes (PMCs) and their formation. Chitosan samples with three different molecular weights (81, 3 · 103, 6 · 103 kDa) and four different DDs (77, 80, 85, 89%) were used. The effects on PMC formation were determined by turbidimetric titration. An effect of the molecular weight of chitosan was not observed in turbidimetric titrations. Turbidity levels were higher for CNCs with lower sulfate group density and larger hydrodynamic diameter than for CNCs with higher sulfate group density and smaller hydrodynamic diameter. Conversely, turbidity levels were higher for chitosans with higher DD (higher charge density) than for chitosans with lower DD (lower charge density). PMC particles from chitosans with different molecular weights were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, laser Doppler electrophoresis, and dynamic light scattering. PMCs from high-molecular-weight chitosan were more spherical and those from medium-molecular-weight chitosan had a slightly larger hydrodynamic diameter than PMCs from the respective other two chitosans. The molecular weight of the chitosan was concluded to have no effect on the formation of chitosan–CNC PMC particles and only a minor effect on the shape and size of the particles. The higher turbidity levels for CNCs with lower sulfate group density and larger hydrodynamic diameter and for chitosans with higher DD were attributed to a larger number of CNCs being required for charge compensation.
  • A Process Approach to Product Repair from the Perspective of the Individual
    Svensson-Hoglund, Sahra; Russell, Jennifer D.; Richter, Jessika Luth (Springer, 2022-11-28)
    Product repair plays an important role in the realisation of a circular economy (CE) and sustainable consumption, yet little is known about what repair entails for individual product owners or users, particularly in a realised CE. This paper proposes a comprehensive approach by conceptualising repair as a multi-stage, cyclical process, shaped by previous experiences and, in turn, impacting future repairs. Moreover, we acknowledge and consider that the repair experience is determined by both internal (to the individual) and external (environmental) factors, which overlap in the individual’s interpretation of the process, primarily as perceived cost vs. benefits. Using a literature review, the role of the individual and key factors influencing the repair experience are discerned and organised according to their relevance within the process. This comprehensive perspective of the repair experience of individuals generated a wide range of insights, including the existence of general vs. specific factors and the prevalence of themes in the repair process. Implications for the upscaling of repair and future research are suggested.
  • Rapid Determination of Urea Formaldehyde Resin Content in Wood Fiber Mat Using Near-infrared Spectroscopy
    Yu, Qinglin; Zhu, Hanwen; Du, Guanben; Chen, Zhangjing; Yang, Zhong (North Carolina State Univ Dept Wood & Paper Sci, 2022-08)
    Monitoring the process is crucial for ensuring high quality in wood-based panel production. Interest in the distribution of resin in fibers and particles has increased during the last couple of decades. This study considered the potential to determine urea formaldehyde (UF) resin content in fiber mat using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. Fiber mats with various resin contents were investigated with NIR combined with the partial least squares (PLS) regression and root mean square error of calibration and validation (RMSECV). The external factors, such as the distance between the fiber optic probe and the sample surface and light sources, were also evaluated. The results showed that this technique can sufficiently determine the resin content in the resinous fiber mat with accuracy of up to 95%. The light sources and the distances from the probe to the surface did not significantly influence the discrimination and prediction of resin content.
  • Making Sustainability a Core Competency: Consumer Response to Sustainable Innovative Products
    Hull, Clyde Eiríkur; Russell, Jennifer D.; Kukar-Kinney, Monika (MDPI, 2022-09-17)
    Research suggests that sustainability may not be sufficient to yield a competitive advantage. Building on the resource-based view, this research evaluates three questions: (1) Can using sustainability as a differentiator lead to consumers choosing sustainable products? (2) Does product sustainability appeal more to environmentally concerned consumers? (3) Does product sustainability appeal more when paired with innovation? To test the hypotheses, an online survey of 344 US respondents was conducted. Consumers were given a hypothetical budget for an office chair and asked to choose between two products at a time. Hypotheses were tested with frequency and Chi-square tests and logistic regression. Findings indicate that the innovative product was preferred over the undifferentiated one, but the sustainable product was preferred over both innovative and undifferentiated products. The sustainability–innovativeness bundle was not preferred over the sustainable product. Environmental concern increased preference for the sustainable product over the innovative product, but not over the undifferentiated one. These findings suggest that sustainability is a stronger differentiator than innovation, but that bundling both features does not further enhance product choice. Attitude toward the environment may not predict behavior. Instead, preference for the sustainable product may originate in variety-seeking behavior, with sustainability seen as an innovation.
  • Wood for Application in Electrochemical Energy Storage Devices
    Shan, Xiaofei; Wu, Jing; Zhang, Xiaotao; Wang, Li; Yang, Junli; Chen, Zhangjing; Yu, Jianfang; Wang, Ximing (Elsevier, 2021-12-22)
    Nowadays, achieving powerful electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices is a major challenge of our society. Wood is a biodegradable and renewable material that naturally has a hierarchical porous structure, excellent mechanical performance, and versatile physicochemical properties. Wood-based materials and its derivatives are endowed with great potential as resources to fabricate advanced materials for energy storage, flexible electronics, and clean energy. Herein, we comprehensively overview the methodologies applied for the synthesis of various electrochemical energy storage systems and devices (e.g., supercapacitor, battery, catalytic hydrogen evolution, etc.), the strategies for tailoring the structures and conductivity, as well as their impact on electrochemical performance (energy and power density and long-term durability). Finally, an outlook of future opportunities and prospects in the synthesis and application of electrochemical energy storage is also presented.
  • Designing synergistic crystallization inhibitors: Bile salt derivatives of cellulose with enhanced hydrophilicity
    Novo, Diana C.; Gao, Chengzhe; Qi, Qingqing; Mosquera-Giraldo, Laura I.; Spiering, Glenn A.; Moore, Robert B.; Taylor, Lynne S.; Edgar, Kevin J. (Elsevier, 2022-09-15)
    Crystallization inhibitors in amorphous solid dispersions (ASD) enable metastable supersaturated drug solutions that persist for a physiologically relevant time. Olefin cross-metathesis (CM) has successfully provided multifunctional cellulose-based derivatives as candidate ASD matrix polymers. In proof of concept studies, we prepared hydrophobic bile salt/cellulose adducts by CM with naturally occurring bile salts. We hypothesized that increased hydrophilicity would enhance the ability of these conjugates to maximize bioactive supersaturation. Their selective preparation presents a significant synthetic challenge, given polysaccharide reactivity and polysaccharide and bile salt complexity. We prepared such derivatives using a more hydrophilic hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) backbone, employing a pent-4-enyl tether (Pen) for appending bile acids. We probed structure-property relationships by varying the nature and degree of substitution of the bile acid substituent (lithocholic or deoxycholic acid). These conjugates are indeed synergistic inhibitors, as demonstrated with the fast-crystallizing prostate cancer drug, enzalutamide. The lithocholic acid methyl ester derivative, AcrMLC-PenHHPCPen (0.64), increased induction time 68 fold vs. drug alone.
  • The Effect of Forklift Type, Pallet Design, Entry Speed, and Top Load on the Horizontal Shock Impacts Exerted during the Interactions between Pallet and Forklift
    Masis, Jorge; Horvath, Laszlo; Böröcz, Péter (MDPI, 2022-07-12)
    Forklift handling of palletized loads produces shock impacts that cause significant damage, affecting the durability and life cycle of pallets and unit loads. Laboratory testing processes using an incline impact tester have been developed to assess the resistance of pallets and unit loads to shock impact damage. A key element of the pallet durability test using the incline impact tester is the intensity of the impact. However, there is a lack of information on the intensity of the shock impacts during forklift handling. The objective of this research was to investigate the effects of forklift type, pallet design, entry speed, and top load on the horizontal shock responses measured during the interactions between pallets and forklifts. Two data loggers, SAVER 3X90 and 3D15, were used to measure the horizontal shock impacts experienced during the same event on both the pallet and the forklift. The results showed that the average peak acceleration of the forklift was 2.98 G; the same event resulted in a 4.4 times greater peak acceleration in the pallet. The average duration of these impacts was 10–12 ms. Pallet design and entry speed had the greatest effect on the response measured for the forklift, while the pallet was most heavily influenced by entry speed and forklift type. The paper mainly focused on measuring the severity of the impacts and did not attempt to correlate the measured impacts to damage experienced by unit loads.
  • The Effect of Kerf Thickness on Hardwood Log Recovery
    Thomas, R. Edward; Buehlmann, Urs (Forest Products Society, 2022-02-07)
    When sawing a log into lumber or other products, the saw blade removes material to separate the wood fibers between the resulting two parts, a loss of material that is commonly referred to as saw kerf. Thicker kerfs result in greater waste and less material available to produce lumber. Over the past decades, with the advancement of materials and technology, saw blade thickness has decreased. However, the reduction in material loss owing to a reduction in saw kerf may not always translate into a statistically significant increase in lumber product recovery. In this study, we explored the effect of saw kerf thickness on lumber recovery for a range of hardwood log diameters using the US Forest Service's Log Recovery Analysis Tool (LORCAT) sawmill simulation tool. Results indicate that the recovery gains realized depend upon the log diameters sawn, the lumber target thickness, and the change (reduction) in the thickness of the saw kerf.
  • A Preliminary Assessment of Industry 4.0 and Digitized Manufacturing in the North American Woodworking Industry
    Bumgardner, Matthew; Buehlmann, Urs (Forest Products Society, 2022-03-07)
    Industry 4.0, a term referring to the digitization of manufacturing, enhanced automation, and data-driven production systems, promises to bring rapid change to the secondary woodworking industry. Manufacturers in this sector, many being small in size and scale, may be challenged to remain competitive without understanding how Industry 4.0 principles might affect their operations. A study conducted with subscribers to a major secondary wood industry trade journal found that few North American woodworking companies were familiar with the term "Industry 4.0." However, that did not mean they were not making decisions about, investing in, and implementing digitization-computerization (digit-comp) in their manufacturing operations. Well over half of study respondents indicated that their firms had made a significant investment in digit-comp over the past 3 years. Several respondents stated that software and technology integration was the most unexpected problem encountered, and that skilled labor was difficult to find. A variety of training types were sought by firms that had made significant Industry 4.0-related investments, especially training related to machine operation. Although a plurality of respondents from both small and large firms indicated that increased digit-comp would not change their number of employees, small firms were more likely to say more employees would be needed and large firms were more likely to perceive a decrease in employees. Perhaps the greatest challenge to successful implementation of Industry 4.0 will be the lack of a strategic plan-just 19 percent of small firms indicated having a vision of how digitization might affect their business.