Craig M. Clemons

Adjunct Assistant Professor

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Room: 426
Building 1
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398

Ph: (608) 231-9396
Fax: (608) 231-9582
cclemons@wisc.edu

Primary Affiliation:
Mechanical Engineering

Additional Affiliations:
Forest Products Laboratory

Profile Summary

Dr. Clemons’ research seeks to overcome technical limitations currently preventing the expanded use polymer composites made with fillers and reinforcements derived from wood or other natural fibers or discover new types of composites made from them. These composites constitute a broad class of materials that range from composites of recycled plastics, wood flour, and various additives to high-performance composites from engineering polymers and nanocellulose, for example.

Though some of these composites (e.g., early wood-flour-filled thermosets – "bakelite") have been around since the early 1900’s, current research usually involves dynamic market segments or rapidly emerging technology areas such as biopolymers or nano-scale fillers and reinforcements that may lead to composites with very different characteristics (e.g., transparency) than those that have been historically produced.

Expanding the use polymer composites made with fillers and reinforcements derived from wood or other natural fibers have the potential to impact a variety of forest service and societal goals. These composites could offer significant outlets for wood-based materials from manufacturing residues, recovered post-consumer wood-based materials, and other recycled and underutilized forest-based resources in cost effective, durable products, for example. They also offer an opportunity for reducing the non-renewable content of petroleum-based plastics by adding a sustainable reinforcement. Discovering new technologies or applying emerging ones to wood-based composites could create high-performance and high-value composites that could make wood more competitive with other materials, move wood into entirely new markets, or favorably influence the economics of the biorefinery platform, for example.

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