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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #992: Lulling, Robert M. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (October 15, 2008), disc 1

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00:38:50 - 00:44:51 United States. Dept. Of Housing And Urban Development

United States. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, apartments---remodeling, minorities, wood bonding, metal bonding, modular construction, methyl ethyl ketone

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00:38:50

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RL

Later, still working under Herb Eickner---

AP

So this brings us up to around what time period?

RL

Oh, goodness gracious, you are asking me? We are talking about probably at this time in the '60s.

AP

Okay.

RL

HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) approached the Lab and asking us to do some research for them too. They were in the process of remodeling some apartments, brick apartments, in New York for the minority. What they decided to do was to cut a wall, a large section of the wall, and make a kitchen on the site and lift it up in to that hole in the wall and slide it in place. They needed some information to permit them to do this and using [mastic] adhesives was one of the ways that they were interested in. We did work with wood to wood and wood to other types of material all the way from linoleum to wood, to carpeting, all those things that you might find in a home. It worked out pretty well, it was an expensive undertaking and when these minorities occupied these apartments, of course the brick was replaced and no more hole, but---oh my I'm going over time---they found out that the minorities didn't take care of their home and so they did not do that anymore. However, there is a firm in Waunakee (Wisconsin) that does make modular construction and mostly in the medical field where they will build in site, or in the factory, modular types of room and deliver to the site and it's faster, it's cheaper for them and whatnot.

00:42:00

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RL

At that time they used a lot of mastic type adhesives. Mastic type adhesives usually are provided in cartridge form and are applied with a gun and they---I got to backtrack a little bit here. On this modular form for HUD, we also did research on studs, metal to wood studs, metal for the strength that it provided, and wood so that the inside of the home you could nail to or screw to. They preferred the wood rather than the metal. Today they have equipment that you could use just plain steel studs, but in this day that I'm talking about now with HUD, they wanted wood to show and so we did research with that. And we used mastic adhesive for that because it was a good gap filling material and it had sufficient strength---[coughs]. Excuse me---to allow them to work with it and build with it. There was one detriment with mastics, there was various kinds of mastics on the market and they were not regulated as to the type of material that they were made from. They had, one time, maybe an MEK, methyl ethyl ketone, solvent or they would have an acetone solvent or they have a combination or something. You never knew, but it was a flammable type of solvent and the base material was a lot of different things, I don't really even know exactly what they all contained. But for my work, for my research, it was important that we knew the flash point of this material because of the various types of solvents and so we determined by trial and error the kind of and the amount of heat that was required to produced a flash point, for the general kinds of mastic adhesive, not a specific kind.

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