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Mark A. Dietenberger

Mark A. Dietenberger
Research General Engineer
Building and Fire Sciences
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
United States
Current Research
Research goals are to develop component processes, test methods for thermophysical properties, and physical mathematical modeling for 1) performance-based fire protection engineering related to wood-based materials used in WUI, 2) economical gasification of biomass and synthesis of syngas into biofuels, and 3) fundamentals of wood pyrolysis and combustion essential to wood thermal degradation and fire growth. This work is being used for predicting fire development on exterior building surfaces and ornamental vegetations for WUI fire scenarios. Thermophysical properties derived from modified test apparatuses are provided for NIST?s Wildland Fire Dynamics Simulator as well as for analytical fire growth models, which are provided as a basis for animated-like 3-D fire growth in real time using desktop computers that has Architectural CAD in conjunction with Google Earth. Fundamental knowledge of wood degradation along with prior private-sector research on process analysis of jet turbine engines are being applied to develop new and economical process for small-scale biomass gasification and conversion of syngas to biofuels. A special bench scale apparatus was built using the liquid metal as heat and mass carriers for directly producing syngas statically from wood, with primarily CO and H2 emissions measured. A continuous biomass flow apparatus has been planned and will be built at unique university facility to investigate conversion efficiency. Other projects included the process modeling of conventional biomass gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis as a biorefinery attached to wood and paper mills in the support of the excellent generic business case of the concept. Various research collaborations nationally and internationally are being developed to promote the above research areas.
Research Interest
  • Fire growth research as applied to wood products
  • Wildland-urban interface fire and moisture science
  • Thermochemical biomass to biofuels conversion
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Evaluating fire-damaged components of historic covered bridges

Year: 2017
Arson continues to claim many historic covered bridges including the most recent one : Cedar Covered Bridge

Cone Calorimetry Takes Center Stage in Evaluating Fire Retardancy of Wood Products

Year: 2012
Evaluations of cone calorimeter tests are now documented in handbook

Developing a fire model for homeowner-sized plats - Protecting lives and properties through proper selection of building and landscape materials

Year: 2011
This research is directed to development of fire growth model for the homeowner sized plat that would guide the user on better and aesthetic selections of building and landscaping construction to significantly reduce impact of an encroaching wild land fire, so that lives and properties are protected...

Intumescent Coating for Fire Protection of Structures

Year: 2014
After years of development by industry, Forest Service scientists conducted specialized fire tests to prove the value of intumescent coating for fire protection. They developed a hot metal test to verify the superiority of commercial intumescent coatings to protect railroad trestles from ignition by...

Developing the Next Generation of Forest Fire Behavior Models

Year: 2015
Efforts are underway to develop the next generation of forest fire behavior models, and Forest Service researchers are extending their knowledge of the fire behavior of wood materials to the realm of forest materials.

Pyrolysis and Combustion Material Properties of Naturally Heterogeneous Fuel Beds of Southern Pine Forests

Year: 2018
Detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for fire behavior of various live and dead foliage can benefit from the Forest Products Laboratory's detailed fundamental measurements for composition, thermal, moisture, pyrolysis, and combustion properties that are quite different than that of woo...

Engineering and Economic Modeling of Biofuels Production

Year: 2011
FPL researchers developed a flexible and customizable computer model that allows users to do a preliminary evaluation of the feasibility of incorporating a biomass gasification plant into an existing pulp mill. The user can model the biomass gas production as if to replace purchased fuel, or conver...

Shift Toward Mesophytic Species in Oak Forests May Limit Fire Reintroduction

Year: 2016
Exclusion of fire from eastern mixed-oak forests is widely understood to be an important explanation for difficulty in regenerating oaks. Forest Service scientists studied whether the change in species composition of forest floor litter, as species composition shifts to more mesophytic and less fire...

Centennial Edition, Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material

Year: 2010
The Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material serves as a primary reference document for a wide variety of users-from the general public through architects and design engineers who use wood in highly engineered structures.