Purdue University Graduate School

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Development of Innovative Hardwood Products

posted on 2024-04-22, 02:59 authored by Jue MoJue Mo

In response to the growing significance of wood as a sustainable resource and the challenges within the wood products industry, there is a pressing need for innovation and collaboration across sectors. This study underscores the importance of mapping the wood products industry to gain a comprehensive understanding of material flows, which is essential for educational and research endeavors. The findings aim to uncover new economic opportunities and advocate for sustainable resource management. To address the complexities of the wood products industry, we developed a Generic Map, including a version tailored for the U.S. hardwood sector. Moreover, Dive-in Chain Maps were introduced to elaborate on the main production chains: Sawmill (I), Veneer Mill (II), Reconstituted Wood Manufacturing (III), and Pulp and Paper Mill (IV).

The study suggests four strategies to augment the value of hardwood through production, design, material modification, and by-products management. We showcased some strategies through two case studies.

The first focuses on Cross-laminated Timber (CLT), demonstrating value addition to hardwood. We conducted a literature review on the availability of raw materials in the US region and evaluated their performance across various stages of laboratory testing. This was followed by evaluating the feasibility and environmental effects of utilizing yellow poplar for CLT production. Additionally, we compared the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) outcomes of yellow poplar CLT with those of traditional softwood CLT. This comparison aims to provide further insights for developing future by-product management or end-of-life strategies.

The second case study examines thermal modification, proposing an innovative method for efficient thermal treatment and employing an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model to analyze the correlation between temperature, duration, and color change. We also compared the physical and mechanical properties of surface thermally treated samples to those of traditionally treated ones, discussing how different thermal treatments affect material properties.

Our findings illuminate the path for effective material flow and utilization, unveiling avenues for innovation and the creation of high-value products. Furthermore, the study provides strategies for waste minimization and informed end-of-life decision-making, thereby enhancing circularity and sustainability in the wood products industry.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Forestry and Natural Resources

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eva Haviarova

Additional Committee Member 2

Rado Gazo

Additional Committee Member 3

Henry Quesada

Additional Committee Member 4

Mo Zhou