Wood Workshop Brings Researchers to UNT

Presenters from China, Ghana, Slovenia, and Turkey discussed research topics related to wood-based products and natural fiber composites during a June 13 workshop held at UNT.

The International Workshop: Wood and Natural Fiber Materials for Energy Efficient Building Construction offered attendees the opportunity to explore international research collaboration possibilities as well as take a tour of UNT College of Engineering laboratories. Research topics included:

  • Bamboo-based Composites for Building Construction
  • Structural insulated panels for modular homes
  • Nanotechnology Applications for Environmentally Friendly Wood Composites

The workshop was organized by Dr. Sheldon Shi, associate professor of the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, who is the president-elect of the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST). Dr. Liping Cai, Research Professor, who is working in the Dr. Shi's group helped on the details of the workshop.  After the workshop, Mr. Peter Dadzie, a Ph.D. student from Ghana, stayed with UNT for a few days working on a collaborative project on the microstructure study of a few Ghana wood species.  Mr. Dadzie is applying for a scholarship in a hope to visit UNT again in 2014 for two months to continue the collaboration.  Another workshop attendee, Mr. Haitao Cheng, a Ph.D. student from International Center for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), Beijing, China, also stayed with UNT for three months (until Sept. 20, 2013) for a collaborative research project on the nanophase treatment of natural fibers supported by the China Natural Science Foundation.   Dr. Shi and the workshop presenters attended the annual international convention of Forest Products Society (FPS) and Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) in Austin, Texas, held June 9-11. Dr. Stevens Brumbley, associate professor of UNT’s Department of Biological Sciences, was an invited speaker in the SWST Convention Proceedings.

UNT students also attended the conference in Austin, including Mauricio Londono, a Mechanical and Energy Engineering master’s student, who received third place in the student poster competition. The title of the poster was "Mechanical and Thermal Properties of High Density Polyethylene/Peanut Shell Composites."  Londono has been working on composites made from polyethylene and peanut shells, which not only offer the benefit of finding use for a waste product (the shells) but also are biodegradable.

Other UNT students and staff who presented posters at the conference include (with the titles of their posters):

  • Andres Garcia, Compostable Environmentally Benign Manufactured Pla-Kenaf Foams
  • Mangesh Nar, Rigid Polyurethane Foam—Kenaf Core Sandwich Composites for Structural Applications
  • Changlei Xia, Porositization of Cellulosic Fibers for Activated Carbon
  • Bing Yang, Renewable Fiber Kenaf Compare to Sugarcane Composites
  • Liping Cai, Examination of the co-pyrolysis of a mixture of waste tires and woody biomass

View photos from the International Workshop: Wood and Natural Fiber Materials for Energy Efficient Building Construction.

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