Technology for Wood-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

 

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.

 

Laminated wood-based materials in construction

For the design of components made from laminated wood-based materials, mechanical properties are necessary. Until now, these have been defined for each material. Based on studies of mechanical and hygric properties of laminated materials made from beech, we are developing a simpler procedure with the aim of widening the application of laminated wood-based materials in the construction sector.

 

Materials on the basis of beet pulp

The application of sugar beet pulp in composite materials or as a component of plastic films will provide sugar beet producers with new fields of business in the future and reduces the consumption of fossil raw materials. The Fraunhofer Institutes UMSICHT and WKI are working together with partners from agriculture and industry to investigate innovative and economical usage possibilities for beet pulp.

Wood Plastic Composites (WPC)

 

Foaming of WPC for application as beehives

We are developing a new material for beehives as a bio-based alternative and testing this new material for its suitability in practice. It must meet the necessary requirements of a beehive whilst simultaneously combining the advantages of the materials used up until now - wood and expanded polystyrene - and also minimizing their specific disadvantages.

 

Flame Retardants for WPC

There have recently been many enquiries as to whether wood-plastic composites (WPC) can be equipped with a flame retardant. Many construction applications are already subject to legal restrictions pertaining to fire safety. Common flame retardants are detrimental to WPC’s mechanical properties and have to be applied in large quantities to be effective. The aim of this project is to develop new kinds of flame retardants which perform better.

 

LIMOWOOD

In this EU-funded research project from the program "Research for the benefit of SMEs" (FP7-SME-2012-314294), a moisture-resistant WPC material is being developed for use in furniture.  

New (hybrid) materials

 

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.

Formaldehyde-free bonding of wood-based panels

 

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 – for construction products

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.

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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 material from WPC

The recycling depots are faced with increasing quantities of WPC which cannot be allocated to a particular area. “Internal cycling” investigations have been carried out for WPC and natural fibre-reinforced plastics. In this research project, the question will be asked as to whether a renewed material usage (“end-of-life recycling”) is technically feasible for WPC.

Measurement Technology

 

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”.

 

Non-destructive inspection of mounted rotor blades

Destroyed rotor blades from wind turbines, lying in fields, can be the result of manufacturing defects or unrecognized signs of fatigue. In order to prevent this, we have developed, together with partners from the industry, a system which enables the non-destructive inspection of the mounted rotor blades. Dismantling of the blades is thereby unnecessary.

 

Watermarks solve the mystery surrounding Rembrandt’s workshop

Since the Middle Ages, watermarks have been used to denote origin and quality in hand-made paper. For art historians, their diverse and imaginative range of motives is a valuable aid in determining the age of drawings, paintings and other graphic works. We develop a new infrared process that makes watermarks visible on paper to allow for more precise dating of artworks.