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Robert J. Ross

Robert J. Ross
Supervisory Research Gen. Engineer
Engineering Properties of Wood, Wood Based Materials and Structures
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
United States
Research Interest
  • Nondestructive evaluation
  • Structural condition assessment
  • Washington State University, Pullman, WA, Ph.D., Engineering Science,
  • Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, M.S., Engineering Mechanics,
  • Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, B.S., Wood and Fiber Utilization,
Professional Experience
  • Supervisory Research General Engineer,  USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory,  1988 - Current
  • Research Engineer,  TrusJoist Corp.,  1987 - 1988
  • Wood Engineer,  Metriguard, Inc.,  1984 - 1987
  • Engineer,  Weyerhaeuser Company and Masonite Corporation,  1978 - 1981
Professional Organizations
  • Member,  Forest Products Society (FPS),  Current
Awards & Recognition
  • Society of Wood Science and Technology, George Marra Award for Excellence in Writing, 2014
  • Forest Products Society, Fred W. Gottschalk Memorial Award, 2013
  • President's Volunteer Service Award, 2013
  • Chief's Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, 2001
  • Society for Experimental Mechanics Outstanding Paper Award, 1996
  • Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, 1993
  • USDA Superior Service Award, 1992
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

International Research Institute Formed to Address Utilization of Plantation Grown Biomaterials

Year: 2018
Leading wood scientists and engineers from around the globe formed an international group to address conservation issues surrounding historic trees and structures.

Making the Most of Beetle-Killed Trees

Year: 2012
New manual gives land managers a variety of options for beetle-killed trees

America's Iconic Covered Bridges Documented With As Built Records

Year: 2012
Laser scanning technology provides details of historic covered timber bridges

Heat treating wooden ammunition pallets for invasive species

Year: 2011
Wood pallets serve as support for munitions loads and other military supplies transported within the continental U.S. and internationally. Despite this integral transport function, wood pallets have been identified as a major pathway for the introduction and spread of non-native invasive insect spec...

Assessment Manual for Timber Structures Helps Building Inspectors

Year: 2014
The Wood and Timber Condition Assessment Manual is an extremely valuable resource for wood design professionals. Forest Service scientists are leading experts in this field and are the "go-to source" for information regarding condition assessment. The new edition contains information on the latest ...

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.

Effects of Silviculture Practices on the Engineering Properties of Northern Hardwood Species of the Lake States

Year: 2018
Wood quality is an important determinant of its end use and therefore its value. Recent proliferation of novel engineered wood products has created new potential uses for hardwood. However, a greater understanding of wood quality is needed to allow continued development of these novel wood products.

Bonding Mixed Species for Advanced Biomaterials

Year: 2018
Massive composite timbers, such as cross laminated timber (CLT), are essential for tall timber buildings that require use of locally available wood resources to reduce manufacturing costs and minimize environmental impacts. This opens a potential sustainable market for undervalued hardwood forest fe...

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.

New Acoustic Technology Evaluates Wood Quality of Standing Trees

Year: 2013
Lack of techniques to assess the quality of standing trees results in inefficient allocation of timber resources and also limits the ability of forest managers to grow high-quality wood with appropriate silvicultural treatments. To address the problem, Forest Products Laboratory researchers and thei...

Inspection Protocols Help Preserve Ancient Chinese Structures

Year: 2014
Forest Service scientists worked with Chinese scientists and engineers to develop inspection procedures to aid in the preservation and restoration of historically significant wood structures.

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.