Technology for Wood and Natural Fiber-Based Materials

Research focus

Process technologies for wood-based materials and alternative raw materials

In the field of process technologies, we develop environmentally friendly, resource-conserving composites from wood, other lignocellulose materials and secondary raw materials such as recovered wood and production waste. The spectrum of material development ranges from traditional particle and fiber board, to Engineered Wood Products (OSB, plywood, LVL) and on to Scrimber wood, wood foams, 3D molded parts and material composites..

© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Fiber molding (magazine rack)

By means of laboratory facilities and semi-technical and industrial systems, it is possible to investigate all of the significant questions pertaining to material technologies. This includes work on mechanical-hygric material testing and examining the characteristics of materials and products with regard to their insulation and emission properties. Projects in the department “Technology for Wood-Based Materials” look at the development of new products or product types and their optimization as well as the processes themselves.

Due to the current developments on the raw wood market (from coniferous woods to deciduous woods and/or from smallwood to large timber), one focus of our work is currently on finding process technology solutions for integrating domestic deciduous woods into existing coniferous wood production lines. Other tasks include looking at mechanical-hygric optimization of newly developed materials based on deciduous woods and wood substitutes, for example annual plants, through to market maturity. Our department is also working on the related topic of characterization and strategies to avoid unpleasant odors and disruptive factors in the processing of these raw materials. We are investigating the question of which process steps can cause unpleasant odors and disruptive factors and which actions can be taken to prevent them.

Besides the increased integration of deciduous wood types in coniferous-wood-dominated production lines (substitution approach), the department “Technology for Wood-Based Materials” looks intensively at developing new materials and optimized materials based on large dimension timber focusing on deciduous woods. We have purchased an industrial peeling machine as a basis for development work on layered materials / engineered wood products.

In addition to the typical wood-based materials, we are currently working heavily on 3D molded parts for a variety of applications in the automotive, transport and furniture industries. The focus is on maximizing the proportion of natural fibers while maintaining the required mechanical-hygric material characteristics. Approaches for identifying and avoiding unpleasant odors from these parts are of considerable relevance here. We cooperate on this topic with our colleagues from other Fraunhofer WKI departments.

Current projects on this research topic:

“Extradichte Faserplatten aus minderwertiger Buche und innovative Qualitätserfassung in Buchenbeständen” (PTJ / FKZ 033L033B) [Extra-density fibreboard made from low-value beech and innovative quality ascertainment in beech stocks]

“Forst- und holzwirtschaftliche Strategien zum Umgang mit dem neuartigen Eschentriebsterben in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – TP Scrimber Wood” (FNR / FKZ: 2201101) [Forest and timber management strategies for dealing with the new situation of dying ash saplings in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania – TP Scrimber Wood]

“Sicherung der Nadelrohholzversorgung in Norddeutschland / TP: Effizienter Rohstoffeinsatz in der Säge- und Holzwerkstoffindustrie” (FNR / FKZ: 22004712) [Securing the supply of raw coniferous wood in northern Germany / TP: Efficient use of raw materials in the saw and wood-based material industries]

“Charakterisierung der Freisetzung und Zusammensetzung von Holzstäuben bei der mechanischen Verarbeitung von Laubholz in der Säge- und Holzwerkstoffindustrie zur Identifikation von Störfaktoren bei der toxikologischen Bewertung” (FNR / FKZ: 22007113) [Characterization of the release and composition of wood dusts from the mechanical processing of deciduous wood in the saw and wood-based material industries in order to identify disruptive factors in toxicological assessment]

“Identifikation und Verminderung der geruchsrelevanten Stoffe von Bauprodukten auf Basis von Holz und anderen nachwachsenden Rohstoffen für Anwendungen im Innenraum” (FNR / FKZ: 14NR067) [Identification and minimization of odor-relevant substances in construction products based on wood and other renewables for interior applications]

“Geringwertiges Laubholz (GerLau) / TP: Industrienahe Untersuchungen zur Optimierung der Zerfaserungstechnologie sowie der Herstellung von Faserplattenwerkstoffen auf Basis geringwertiger Laubholzsortimente” (FNR / FKZ: 22013114) [Low-value deciduous wood / TP: Close-to-industry investigations into optimizing technology for making fibers and into manufacturing fiberboard materials based on low-value deciduous woods]

“Untersuchung der mechanischen und hygrischen Eigenschaften von Lagenwerkstoffen aus Buchenholzfurnieren in Abhängigkeit von stofflichen und verfahrenstechnischen Einflussfaktoren” (iVTH) [Investigations into the mechanical and hygric properties of layered materials made with beechwood veneers and their dependencies on material and process-related factors]