Scientist finds valuable uses for recycled materials

Linda F. Benedict, Bogren, Richard C.

When he came to the LSU AgCenter in 1996, Qinglin Wu believed he had found a place that offered strong potential for career development. So he joined a team of productive scientists in the Forest Products Development Center.

“Forest products at the AgCenter was one of the few expanding research programs in the country with state and university support,” Wu said. “Louisiana has a large forest resource and a strong forest products industry to work with.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Henan Agricultural University in Zhengzhou, Henan, China, Wu began his career in wood processing in a master’s program in engineering science at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. His focus was on modeling lumber drying processes with a mathematical model.

He then continued in a doctoral program in forest products at Oregon State University and a post-doctoral program at Michigan State University. There he worked with Otto Susland, one of the wood scientists who led the development of wood-based composite research in the United States.

At the LSU AgCenter he developed a comprehensive research program in wood-based composite in the School of Renewable Natural Resources.

“My laboratory is currently equipped with some state-of-the-art equipment in wood, polymer composite and nanomaterial processing and testing,” Wu said.

Wu holds the Roy O. Martin Sr. Endowed Professorship in Composites/Engineered Wood Products. His research in woodbased material technology has been supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Governor’s Biotechnology Initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, the National Science Foundation and the wood-products industry.

His program has generated more than 200 technical publications, four U.S. patent applications, and two marketable products – TigerBullets and GEOUX HPHT.

Wu has been working on woodplastic composites for building applications for many years. The wood-plastic products compete with traditional wood products with better performance but significantly higher costs.

“I felt that new, more valued-added applications for the wood-plastic materials could lead to significantly market opportunities and started searching for new applications,” Wu said. “The drive led to the development of TigerBullets for oil well drilling applications.”

It took about three years to develop and test TigerBullets formulations. The result was a high-performing product that’s found a home in the marketplace.

Rick Bogren is a professor and science writer with LSU AgCenter Communications.

(This article was published in the fall 2012 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)

1/16/2013 10:04:46 PM
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