Isabela Reiniati, a graduate student in chemical engineering working with civil engineering professor Marie Laborie, received the best poster award at the Ecowood 2008 conference, held in Portugal this fall.

Reiniati’s poster, entitled Viscoelastic Properties of Hybrid Poplar, describes her research on the effect of hot-pressing on the structural, chemical and viscoelastic properties of the hybrid poplar. Hybrid poplar trees are a fast-growing plantation species and have been used for decades to supply the pulp and paper industries. Recently, they are being considered as a possible alternative for wood-based composite manufacturing. Fundamental knowledge of how the wood behaves after hot-pressing, which is an important step in the wood-composite manufacturing process, is important for future development of composites.

Reiniati, a native of Indonesia, came to the U.S. to attend college, first in California and then at Washington State University. She received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering in May, 2007, and is now pursuing a master’s degree. She conducts her research at the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory. She plans to graduate in the spring and hopes to work as a process engineer.