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The JELD-WEN Foundation, based in Klamath Falls, established the JELD-WEN Chair in Wood-Based Composites Science in OSU's College of Forestry in 2004. The position is designed to expand the composites program in the Department of Wood Science and Engineering by supporting a senior scientist with a developed research program who will also teach classes and mentor junior faculty.
Scientists in the composites discipline examine how wood and natural fibers—in combination with adhesives and other materials such as plastics, metals or cement—can form new materials with commercial value. Ongoing research at OSU includes investigations into composite materials engineered for desired strength, flexibility, durability, physical appearance, and improved utilization of natural resources. The practical applications for these new composites are extensive, ranging from homebuilding to auto parts to high-tech electrical components.
Legally separate from the JELD-WEN Foundation, JELD-WEN, Inc., is the world's leading manufacturer of windows and doors and is Oregon's largest privately held company. Rod Wendt, secretary and a trustee of the JELD-WEN Foundation, says his organization is pleased to make the award.
"The OSU Department of Wood Science & Engineering and JELD-WEN have had a long-term relationship over 30 years now, involving research and sharing of ideas and new technologies," Wendt said. "This grant recognizes the importance of that friendship and working relationship and declares our intent in maintaining and building an even more active permanent association with the university."
After an extensive search, the College of Forestry named Fred Kamke as the first JELD-WEN Chair in Wood-based Composites Science. Kamke brings more than 20 years experience and a world-class research program to Oregon State University.
Kamke’s research focuses on wood structure and properties, heat and mass transfer in wood, and composite manufacture and performance.
Kamke holds a B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Since 1984, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Wood Science at Virginia Tech. He has served as the Director of the Wood-Based Composites Center, an industry-university cooperative with a focus on research and educational needs of the wood-based composites/wood products industries. He was also the director of the Sustainable Engineered Materials Institute at Virginia Tech, which is a research organization dealing with sustainability of natural fiber resources for engineered materials.
Kamke is also a Fellow in the International Academy of Wood Science and a past president for the Society for Wood Science and Technology.