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Christopher Adam Senalik

 Christopher Adam Senalik
Research General Engineer
Engineering Properties of Wood, Wood Based Materials and Structures
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
United States
Current Research

Evaluating new nondestructive-evaluation methodologies for assessment of covered timber bridges.

Remote monitoring of geotextile reinforced soil integrated bridge systems

Evaluation of new, lightweight bridge superstructures for covered timber bridges.

Past Research

Acousto-Ultrasonic Inspection and Finite Difference Time Domain Simulation

Detection and Assessment of Wood Decay – Glulam Beams and Wooden Utility Poles

Research Interest

Nondestructive evaluation of structures.

Material characterization.

Why This Research Is Important

Infrastructure of the Unites States is of grave concern. Nondestructive evaluation allows for assessment of our roads, bridges, utility poles, and other structures without changing their condition. Better evaluation tools allow engineers to make more informed decisions regarding where to spend limited funds to best meet demands.

Beyond repair and maintenance, new bridge superstructure designs for bridges can potentially increase the load capacity of exisiting bridges. In this way, we can enjoy the beauty of our historic timber bridges, and insure they are up to the task of supporting modern vehicles and traffic loads.

Professional Experience
  • Research General Engineer,  Forest Products Laboratory,  2013 - Current
    Testing and analysis of experimental lightweight sawn timber and glue laminated (glulam) bridge decks. Evaluating the effectiveness of nondestructive testing tools traditionally used on concrete and steel to assess wood structure.
  • Project Advisor,  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL,  2013 - 2013
    Project advisor for the design group which designed a countertop ironing board which reduced production cost by over 45%.
  • Teaching Assistant,  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL,  2006 - 2012
    Provided instruction in the areas of control systems, statistical analysis, and instrumentation and testing of material properties.
  • Forensic Engineer,  Ruhl Forensic, Inc.,  1998 - 2005
    Responded 24/7/365 for forensic inspections nationwide. Provided results of findings as reports and courtroom testimony.
  • Project Advisor,  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL,  2001 - 2001
    Project advisor for design group with designed new in-line industrial water gun which reused over 30% of parts from their existing production lines.
  • Research Assistant,  U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Lab, Champaign, IL,  1997 - 1999
    Constructed test plan for experimental water abatement systems.
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Nondestructive Assessment of Wood Members in a Viewing Tower in Potawatomi State Park, Door County, Wisconsin, USA

Year: 2019
USDA Forest Service scientists assessed the condition of a historic observation tower to determine if it could be enjoyed safely.

Blast-Resistant Testing for Loaded Mass Timber Structures

Year: 2018
The ability of cross laminated timbers to resist nearby detonations is verified through blast testing.

Assessing the ability of ground-penetrating radar to detect internal moisture and fungal decay

Year: 2017
Internal moisture and fungal decay are detected in structural bridge members using ground penetrating radar for faster evaluation of timber bridges.

Smart timber bridge on geo-synthetic reinforced soil abutments

Year: 2017
Forest Service researchers partnered in the construction and monitoring of an innovative bridge abutment system, developed to be lower cost and faster to construct with improved performance and durability as compared to other abutments. In addition, the next generation of smart bridge concepts for ...

A residential tornado safe room from commodity wood products

Year: 2017
Forest Service researchers designed a tornado safe room to be constructed from commodity wood building products and adaptable to existing homes.

Scientists Develop New Tool to Detect Internal Decay in Trees

Year: 2016
Through collaboration with an industrial partner, the Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory helped develop a handheld tool to assist tree inspectors with detecting internal decay in standing trees.