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Wood Composites

We’re at the forefront of testing and manufacturing new, innovative, and sustainable forest products to revitalize and diversify Maine’s forest-based economy. 

The UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center has a complete Wood Composites Pilot Line allowing the production of up to 4’ x 8’ oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), particleboard, Wood Fiber Insulation, and other cellulosic composites on a near-industrial scale.
Companies may opt for complete manufacturing – from log to panel – or select only certain unit operations, such as stranding, drying, and screening. Recent studies include the use of innovative bio-based resin systems, wax substitutes, fire retardants, and residuals to produce value-added products.

Wood Composites Pilot Line

Log Delivery & Conditioning

Companies may deliver tree length or pre-cut logs with a maximum diameter of 12”. Approximately ten 5’ long x 12” diameter logs can be soaked and/or heated at a time to 150°F.

Stranding & Screening

A Carmanah 12/48 Lab Strander converts logs into strands from 3” to 12” in length for OSB/LSL production.

A 48” ring holds two knives that protrude into the inner face of the ring. Strands are produced by advancing the log through the rotating ring at a specified rate. Projection of the knives in combination with ring speed determines the flake thickness, and width is achieved by selection of the appropriate counter knife angle, and strand length through the use of scoring knives. 


Strands are dried on a Koch Bros. in-line conveyor dryer. The forced-air dryer is 3’ wide x 10’ long, with an additional 4’ of infeed and outfeed. The dryer can evaporate up to 250 lbs. of water per hour, at a maximum temperature of 325°F and a fan capacity of 7,500cfm.

A 5,000 board foot, Nyle dehumidification dry kiln is also available bringing strands to within +/- 1% of the target MC, usually within 24 hours.

Resin Blending

Resin is applied to strands using one of two Coil spinning disk atomizing resin blenders (3’ x 6’ and 5’ x 10’). The blender drum can be rotated up to 20 rpm, and the spinning disk atomizer to 15,000 rpm. Either 30 or 120 lbs, for the small and large blender respectively, of dry strands, can be blended at a time. The resins (normally pMDI or PF) and waxes are sent to the blender by means of a peristaltic pump. Wax emulsions are introduced using an air atomizer.


Boards are pressed in one of two presses:
450 ton 34″ x 34″ Dieffenbacher steam injection press: This press system is controlled by a PressMan system. Mats can be pressed with thermal oil (up to 450°F) or steam injection (up to 250 psi steam pressure). Steam injection allows for the pressing of thick strand composites.

4’ x 8’ Erie Mill & Press: 1800 ton hydraulic press (provides 725 psi on a full-sized 52”x100” mat). The press is PLC controlled, with complete data collection for a printout of press scheduling data and graphs. The press can be controlled in either position or pressure control. Energy is provided either by hot oil (up to 500°F) heated platens or radiofrequency (10 kV, 30 kW Thermex-Thermatron system).

Conditioning & Testing

Boards/panels are conditioned prior to testing in a walk-in environmental chamber.

The UMaine Composites Center, an ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratory and has a full suite of ASTM wood products testing capabilities within its accreditation scope (such as ASTM D143, D198, D1037, D4761, etc.). A full list is available here.

Dr. Stephen M. Shaler
Dr. Stephen M. Shaler

Professor of Sustainable Materials & Technology

Russell Edgar
Russell Edgar

Wood Composites Manager

Benjamin Herzog, M.S
Benjamin Herzog, M.S

Wood Technologist

Tim Degnan
Tim Degnan


Glenn Davis
Glenn Davis


Russell Edgar
Russell Edgar

Wood Composites Manager

Contact Wood Composites

  • General Information

    Thank you for contacting the Wood Composites team at the Advanced Structures & Composites Center. We look forward to working with you!

Wood Composites Overview

The ASCC’s research roots are in Wood Composites.  Since opening in 1996, the ASCC has conducted hundreds of federal and industrial trials on wood and wood-based composite materials.  Prototype products such as oriented strand board (OSB), laminated strand lumber (LSL), particleboard (PB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), glulam, plywood, and cross-laminated timber (CLT) are manufactured and tested on-site using the ASCC’s wood composites pilot line.

A significant area of recent research is the development, energy performance, and market prevalence of cross-laminated timber (CLT), a large-scale, prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel consisting of alternating, layered lumber or structural composite lumber which offers the potential to reduce carbon footprint compared to that of steel and concrete in building construction. The ASCC plans to use CLT as the main structural material for our 90,000 ft² GEM Factory of the Future addition.

Mass Timber

The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center

The MMTCC brings together industrial partners, trade organizations, construction firms, architects, and other stakeholders in the region to revitalize and diversify Maine’s forest-based economy by bringing innovative mass timber manufacturing to the State of Maine. The emergence of this new innovation-based industry cluster will result in positive economic impacts on both local and regional economies, particularly in Maine’s rural communities

Maine Mass Timber Research

Maine may lead mass timber ‘revolution’ to reduce construction’s carbon footprint

Mass timber lends itself to carbon-emissions reductions and aesthetic design, SMRT Architects & Engineers President Ellen Belknap said during a recent E2Tech presentation.

Wood Fiber Insulation

UMaine and GO Lab have partnered on R&D programs and prototyping efforts since 2018.  Evaluations have investigated the effect of various manufacturing parameters, adhesives (including bio-based) type, and loading on mechanical and physical properties of wood fiber insulation.

Wood fiber insulation (WFI) based products have been produced and used in European countries, mainly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, since the mid-1990s. WFI is made in three forms, 1) loose-fill, 2) batts, and 3) rigid boards. WFI, which has grown into a 0.7 billion USD market in Europe, is currently being imported into the U.S., but high shipping costs have kept it an expensive niche product. Emerging domestic manufacturing is projected to make WFI a cost-neutral, drop-in replacement for fossil-based insulation boards, such as extruded/expanded polystyrene foam (XPS/EPS). Wood fiber insulation has better ecological credentials, as well as several performance advantages, over the fossil-based conventional insulation materials, including better sound attenuation, and vapor openness.  WFI also can utilize a wide range of species, providing a critical outlet for a lower value, underutilized species which can have a positive impact on overall forest health.  Finally, WFI is a prime potential consumer of residuals, which for many regions have found their traditional outlets disappearing (e.g. paper chips, pellets, biomass energy plants). 

GO Lab, Inc., a building products manufacturer based in Belfast, Maine, is currently building the first WFI manufacturing facility in the U.S. in central Maine to demonstrate the market. Their wood fiber insulation is to be comprised of greater than 90% softwood fiber, will be renewable, recyclable, non-toxic, and is expected to meet all performance requirements of common commercial construction insulations.  Once running at capacity, GO Lab’s production facility in Maine will consume approximately 100,000 green tons of softwood chips annually while addressing just 0.6% of the US insulation market.

NELMA Norway Spruce Testing

Norway Spruce joins the spruce-pine-fir south (SPFS) lumber grouping. Norway Spruce is the first new, major US-grown species of softwood to be fully tested for strength values for inclusion in an existing lumber grouping since the initial process for assigning design values by way of lumber testing of wood samples began in the 1920s.

All testing and data analysis (per ASTM D1990) was conducted at the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The inclusion of Norway Spruce was approved by the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) on October 20, 2016.