Designed For
Designed for technicians, managers and support personnel looking for career advancement in the wood-based composites industry.
Always Available
Online, self-paced
$300 per module; WBC members receive 25% off! Contact the WBC to receive your discount code.
Course Length
Five to 10 hours per module

The Wood-Based Composite Science Short Course series, developed in partnership with the Oregon Wood Innovation Center and the Wood-Based Composites Center, provides mill operators as well as career professionals with a fundamental knowledge of wood as an engineering material in the manufacturing of wood-based composites. If you complete the series, you may be eligible for a Certificate of Completion and will be able to improve manufacturing efficiency and product performance, troubleshoot processing problems and enhance your value as an employee.


Wood science and technology experts, selected from top universities, government research labs and industry, teach the course's six modules.

  • Wood Structure.

    Instructor: Fred Kamke (Oregon State University;
    This course introduces the macro- and micro-structure of wood. It focuses on the practical implications of anatomical structure in the field of wood-based composites. Many wood species are discussed, but limited to species of commercial importance in North America. Examples include species that are commonly used in the manufacture of wood-based composites. Many photomicrographs and animations are used to illustrate concepts. Anatomical features of wood are discussed in relation to wood properties, such as density, permeability, and bending modulus. Understanding how and why wood behaves the way that it does is critical for efficient processing, troubleshooting, and product performance

    Cell wall structure
    Chemical composition
    Softwood structure
    Hardwood structure
    Juvenile wood and reaction wood
    Structure – property relationships
  • Wood and Water Relationships.

    Instructor: Scott Leavengood (Oregon State University;
    This course describes the interactions of wood and water and the effect on a number of properties – shrinking and swelling in particular. The course begins with lectures on gas behavior and humidity. This information serves as background for understanding interactions between temperature and humidity, and their impact on wood behavior. The information on wood and water relations is divided into two lectures. The first presents a review of wood structure, how wood holds water, how we calculate moisture content, why wood shrinks and swells, and how wood’s moisture content changes with changes in temperature and humidity. The second lecture on wood and water relations focuses on shrinking and swelling. Solid wood is presented first followed by unique issues with composite wood products such as restraint due to cross-lamination, the impact of densification, and variability in density. The course also includes information on common methods and tools used for measuring moisture content.

    How gases behave
    Wood and water relations A
    Wood and water relations B
    Measurement of moisture in wood
  • Applied Statistics and Data Analysis.

    Instructors: Chris Knowles (Oregon State University; and William Boehner (formerly Weyerhaeuser Company; Oregon State University;
    This course introduces students to applied statistics and data analysis with a focus on the practical implications of statistics in the field of wood-based composites. The course will prepare the student to collect and analyze data using basic statistical tools. Students will learn how to compute and interpret basic descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation. Students will also learn how to compare means from different samples using t-tests and ANOVA and how to interpret the results of those tests. Understanding how and why to collect data and analyze data is critical for quality control, troubleshooting, and product performance.

    Basic statistics
    Determining normality
  • Wood Adhesion Science and Technology.

    Instructor: Charles (Chip) Frazier (Virginia Tech;
    Introduction to adhesion science and technology with an introduction to basic chemical concepts, surface chemistry, polymer science, polymer analysis, and also to some commercially significant wood adhesives and topics specific to those adhesives.
    Introduction to Adhesion
    Chemical Introduction
    Intermolecular Forces
    Surface Chemistry
    Organic Reactivity
    Polymer Analysis
    Polymer Science-I
    Polymer Science-II
    Theories of Adhesion
    Adhesive Strength Development
    Adhesives and Applications
    Wood Factors that Impact Bonding
  • Strand-based Composite Manufacturing.

    Instructor: William (Bill) Boehner (formerly Weyerhaeuser Company; Oregon State University;
    This course covers the manufacturing of strand-based composites (OSB and LSL) beginning in the forest and continuing through pressing as outlined below. Within each lecture, key variables that affect the quality of the intermediate product, such as a strand, as well as the finished panel product are identified and discussed. Results of scientific studies and a mill trial are presented to support conclusions.
    Initial considerations – species and wood quality
    Green end, Part 1 – trees, logs, and storage
    Green end, Part 2 – log preparation, debarking, and stranding
    Drying, screening, and conveying
    Mat forming
  • Practical Wood Adhesives Technology 

    Instructor: Bruce Broline (formerly Arclin; Oregon State University;
    Course goals are to develop an understanding of basic chemistry of resins, resin manufacturing, resin options for wood bonding, practical aspects of resin use, resin performance, green aspects of resins, improve effectiveness for solving production problems, and facilitate working with resin suppliers. No knowledge of chemistry is assumed. Any chemical principles required for this course will be discussed.

    Introduction/Chemical Foundation
    Adhesive overview (Resins 101)
    Resin manufacturing
    Formaldehyde-based resins
    Formaldehyde-free resins
    Resin quality control and analysis
    Resin Applications-OSB
    Resin Applications - Particleboard and MDF
    Resin Applications - Veneer Composites
    Resin Applications – Engineered Assemblies
    Final Thoughts