U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA/FS)

Established in 1905, the Forest Service manages 193 million acres of publically-owned National Forests and grasslands. It has three major subunits: the National Forest System; State and Private Forestry; and Research and Development (R&D). Its R&D mission is to develop and deliver knowledge and innovative technology to improve the health and use of the Nation’s forests and rangelands.

Research
Focus

Nanotechnology offers an efficient and effective means to capitalize on a major national asset to make forest-derived materials the “materials of choice for the 21st century.” Wood is made up of nanodimensional building blocks that: (1) have strength properties greater than Kevlar® and piezoelectric properties equivalent to quartz, (2) can be manipulated to produce photonic structures, (3) are remarkably uniform in size and shape, (4) possess self-assembly properties, and (5) can be renewably produced in quantities of tens of millions of tons.

FS R&D is developing internal nanotechnology research capacities to effectively partner with industry, academia, and other federal entities and developing the precompetitive science and technology critical to the economic use of nanotechnology-enabled, forest-based materials and products. Current FS R&D focus areas are to: 1) efficiently liberate and produce quantities of cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibrils for research and scale up; 2) characterize cellulose nanomaterials; 3) develop the means to efficiently modify the functionality of cellulose nanomaterial surfaces; 4) develop the enabling science and technologies needed to capture the performance properties of cellulosic nanomaterials and produce nano-enabled macroscale composites; and 5) develop multiscale modeling for nano-enable composites.

SPOTLIGHT:

The U.S. forest products industry, through the American Forest & Paper Association Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance, signed a memorandum of understanding with the NSET Subcommittee to form a Cooperative Board for Advancing Nanotechnology (CBAN). The industry is in a unique position to tap the huge potential nanotechnology provides. The industry can upgrade its processes and produce new high-performance consumer products, and become a producer and developer of novel, sustainable nanomaterials to replace non sustainable materials such as those from fossil fuels.

Key
Contacts

Dr. World Nieh, National Program Leader, Forest Products and Utilization, USDA Forest Service
T: 703-605-4197
wnieh@fs.fed.us

Dr. Theodore H. Wegner, Assistant Director, USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory
Office:  (608) 231-9434
twegner@fs.fed.us

Funding
Opportunities

Forest Service Research & Development Programs
http://www.fs.fed.us/research/#


Nanotechnology Fact

Nanotechnology has the potential to create many new jobs across a variety of sectors. While some jobs, will require an advanced degree, a 2014 study funded by the National Science Foundation points out that 2-yr and 4-yr training with access to continuing and technical education will be sufficient for many of the future positions in nanotechnology, nanomanufacturing, and beyond.                                                                                                             

Previous estimates stated that 6 million nanotechnology jobs will be needed by 2020, with 2 million of those jobs in the United States (Roco, Mirkin, and Hersam 2010). According to the U.S. News/Raytheon analysis, the number of STEM jobs increased 20 percent between 2000 and 2014. Looking ahead, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2012 and 2022, employment in occupations that NSF classifies as science and engineering (S&E) will increase 15 percent. To find out about nanotechnology programs at college and graduate levels, see College and Graduate Programs. If you are interested in 2-year degrees or training programs, see Associate Degrees, Certificates, & Job Info.

 

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