Picture of a hot-press

The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials recently purchased a new hot-press to support teaching and research activities on the VT campus. Most of the funds were supplied by the College of Natural Resources and Environment; the rest was supplied by the Wood-Based Composites Center (WBC), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. Dean Paul Winistorfer commented, “We constantly strive to renew and improve our facilities and equipment capabilities – which is so important to attracting faculty, and offering the best experiences for our students. The Wood-Based Composites Center exemplifies the industry/university collaboration that benefits students and faculty across our campus.”

The new press is a 30 ton hydraulic system with 15x15 inch platens, and controls that simplify operation. WBC Director Chip Frazier stated, “We greatly appreciate this financial support from the College, and we are eager to offer new teaching and research capabilities to everyone at Virginia Tech.” Frazier’s group is learning “to drive” the new hot-press in research on new non-petrochemical wood adhesives. Frazier and Associate Professor Brian Strahm (Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation) are using the new hot-press to measure carbon-isotope fractionation in formaldehyde emissions from wood composites found in U.S kitchens and bathrooms. This is a long-term effort to help the industry reduce formaldehyde emissions. Many more projects are in planning!