Wood is Good; Value-Added Wood is Better: Research Leads to New Products - Now Available

(May 8, 2009 —Thunder Bay, ON)
After nearly seven years in research and development, Superior Thermowood will launch a full line of deck building products featuring a newly developed, second-generation, thermal modification technology.

The process, used to thermally treat raw wood, evolved with collaboration from Lakehead University Associate Professor Dr. Matt Leitch, wood science researcher in the Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment.  Tested in a Lakehead University lab under the direction of Dr. Leitch, the thermal modification process substantially improves the physical properties of wood, allowing it to resist twisting, warping, and moisture “uptake” by strengthening the cell walls. 

 Dr. Leitch explains, “The Superior Thermowood process increases the strength of the wood, reinforcing its structural integrity through a process called ‘reinforcement and compression.’ The result is a product that is moisture and fungus resistant; no chemicals are added, food sources for mold and insects are reduced, and the natural stresses of twist and warp are almost eliminated.”  As an added bonus, wood that has undergone the Superior Thermowood process exhibits rich tones of colouration.

But the benefits don’t end there.  Leitch and his team have also studied the wood waste recovered from the process, and have discovered its increased BTU value as a resource for pelletized fuel over standard wood waste products.  “The process densifies the wood, so the wood waste, things like the shavings and the ends, are extremely dense and dry, which makes them a fairly valuable by-product,” explains Leitch.  “There is the potential to commercialize this by-product as well, providing consumers with a more environmentally friendly alternative to untreated fuel pellets.”

Superior ThermoWood President Ed Rose says, “We see this as a truly significant, forward thinking industry. It’s a development that can make a valuable contribution on a number of levels, including the economic future of our forestry industry and the environment.” The company is preparing for large-scale production and roll-out of deck building products to the North American market.  For the first time, a complete line of Superior Thermowood SPF decking materials will be available for purchase in limited distribution at retail outlets this spring. In Thunder Bay, the products, marketed under the ThermoForest Products brand, can be purchased at Petersen's Building Supplies, 1524 John Street Rd., beginning mid-May.  For more information, visit the Superior Thermowood website, at http://www.superiorthermowood.com/


Media:  Dr. Mat Leitch is available for media interviews. For more information contact Lisa Pelot, Communications Officer, at 343-8177, or commun@lakeheadu.ca

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,900 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca


Last updated May 08, 2009

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