Technology for Wood and Natural Fiber-Based Materials

Research projects

Here you will find details of selected research projects. Please contact us if you require more information concerning our project portfolio.

Technology for Wood-Based Products and Alternative Raw Materials

 

SusI4Chile

In cooperation with the ZELUBA® department, we will develop ecological insulating materials from Chilean plants and largely unused plant “waste“ that accumulates in Chilean agriculture, forestry and timber industry. In this way, we contribute to sustainable forest management and to improving the environmental balance of the construction industry in Chile and open up new value creation opportunities.

 

FutureWood

Due to climate change, the supply of high-quality softwood is becoming increasingly problematic. In the FutureWood project, are investigating the raw material quality produced by differing silvicultural systems, taking into account the climatic and ecological aspects. We are applying the gained knowledge in the conception of optimized silvicultural systems and manufacturing procedures for the forestry and timber industries in order to safeguard the sustainable production of high-quality coniferous-wood products.

 

OptiPro

Coniferous woods have been the preferred timber up until now, but their availability in Germany is decreasing, thereby favoring that of hardwood. The objective of this collaborative project is the development of a procedure for the more efficient production of veneers as well as the production of durable materials on the basis of beech wood. This is intended to preserve or even increase the proportion of wood in the construction sector. At the Fraunhofer WKI, the focus is placed upon the avoidance of peeling cracks and product testing.

Wood-Plastic Composites (WPC)

 

Building efficiently with wood

How can the utilization of wood resources be optimized in such a way that the smallest-possible amount of forest area is used in order to build a house? What building materials are needed for this purpose and what can be saved through recycling? What ecological and economic advantages does this bring for urban and rural areas? The aim in this international project is to build two demonstration houses. At the Fraunhofer WKI, we are developing flame-retardant bio-materials for this purpose.

 

Flame-retardant bioplastics for electronics and logistics

In this project, we are developing flame-retardant, heat and impact resistant bioplastics and biocomposites which which can be processed by means of injection molding and 3D printing. Products such as light switches, sockets, motion detectors, cable ducts or charging stations for electric vehicles could soon be produced from biomaterials. 

 

Bio-Profiles for façades and windows

Window and façade profiles made from plastic are extremely popular due to their durability, low maintenance and good recyclability. In cooperation with the University of Stuttgart, we are developing profiles made from bioplastics in which regionally available plant residues, such as wheat straw, are used as filler material. 

New (hybrid) materials

 

Sustainable sandwich elements from wood foam and textile-reinforced concrete

We are developing a environmentally-friendly wood foam-textile-reinforced concrete sandwich element for exterior walls of energy-efficient buildings with small component thickness.

 

CeluPack – Pressure-resistant packaging material made from pure lignocellulose

We are developing a climate-friendly packaging material made primarily from residual agricultural materials such as corn cobs and other lignocellulose-based materials such as wood. It can be recycled together with cardboard secondary packaging.

 

Wood foam - from tree to foam

The project sounds incredible: is it possible to foam wood? As part of an internal pre-research project, the Fraunhofer WKI has developed innovative methods which enable the production of foams from pure wood.

Adhesives and wood chemistry

 

Formaldehyde-free amino resins on a glycol aldehyde basis for wood-based materials and decorative paper coatings

A new method was implemented in order to produce aminoplastic resins on the basis of melamine and alternative aldehydes and to apply these as adhesives for wood materials and decorative coatings.

 

Alternative formaldehyde-free urea resins for wood-based materials and decorative paper coatings

Building upon the knowledge gained from a prior project, the development of formaldehyde-free, low-cost (compared to melamine resins) urea resins for use as adhesives in wood-based materials and as impregnation resins for decorative paper coatings now seems promising.

 

Formaldehyde-free binding agents – modified with amino and naphthalene resins

In this project, we are currently developing binding agents which use formaldehyde-free resins based on melamine and naphthalene with improved characteristics for construction applications.

Recycling of waste wood and WPC

 

Recycling of Waste Wood

The collective term "waste wood" is used to denote all woods and wood-based products whose end of life as a product has been reached and which therefore fall under the definition of waste. Sources of raw materials which have, until now, only been insufficiently utilized should now be developed.

Cascading re-use of recovered wood

The Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI is responsible for research on the waste wood cascade demonstrator. The aim of the project is to develop methods and technologies that the usable amount of pure wood fraction increases significantly in the future. Moreover, adhering to the timber contamination, coatings and ingredients to be detected and also recycled.

 

Recycling of rotor blades

Wind turbines are producing increasing quantities of sustainable electricity. The recycling of the rotor blades, however, has been very complicated and expensive up until now. We are developing an innovative recycling technology for the recovery of balsa wood and plastic foam from the rotor blades as well as recycling procedures for these recyclates, in order to utilize them in the production of new, improved insulation and building materials.

Measurement Technology

 

Robot for the internal inspection of rotor blades

The rotor blades of wind-energy turbines are subjected to high mechanical loads during operation. Material defects such as defective bonding and cracks can have severe consequences. Until now, only inspection from the outside has been possible. In cooperation with a number of research and industry partners, we are therefore developing a thermography robot for internal inspection purposes. 

 

InsectDetect

Due to both the globalization of the timber trade and climate change, there is an increasing risk of wood-destroying insect species being introduced and spreading rapidly, thereby causing extensive damage to German forests. Previous control procedures for the timber trade are not sufficient. The objective of our research project is to therefore develop an effective control procedure in order to provide support for the timber trade and the forestry sector.

 

Additional benefits of bio insulation

Under the leadership of the Fraunhofer WKI, a consortium of twelve research institutes is conducting interdisciplinary research into holistic solutions in order to significantly increase the application of insulation materials made from renewable raw materials. Within the Fraunhofer WKI, four departments are participating in the project. In our department we are working on the project segments “Thermal insulation” and “Moisture protection”.