Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA®

Research topic

Building physics

Building physics is of essential importance in wooden construction, as only buildings which have been structurally correctly constructed can remain durable and hold their value over centuries. We develop holistic solutions for the industry and craft trades. One outstanding area of expertise in our department lies in the consolidation of simulation procedures with physical property and mechanical-structural methods of investigation. The spectrum ranges thereby from the development of materials for use in construction through the complex issues of individual details to complete building systems. The improvement of the technical feasibility and usability as well as the optimization of the economic efficiency are in the foreground for most of the developments.

Wood reacts sensitively to climatic changes; it "works". This property offers very significant advantages, for example as regards the indoor climate. This property must be taken into account and influenced in such a way that a product, a system or a structure has exactly the desired properties. For sustainable and modular solutions in lightweight construction, complex composites and widely-varying raw materials are necessary. The material application, the interaction of the components and the combining of the (sub-) systems with one another require complex specialist knowledge and functional laboratory facilities.

Not only for historic buildings is the hygrothermal behavior of materials and structures a central question of building physics. Furthermore, the issues of fire protection in lightweight construction and the load-bearing behavior are of great importance. In addition to the weathering simulation with technical equipment, at the Fraunhofer WKI we also investigate the coupled effects of heat and humidity and the load-bearing and deformation behavior with the help of numerical simulation - also in the event of fire. Measurement technology for the verification of simulations as well as for the examination of building elements in real size is also available.

The investigation of composite thermal insulation systems with wood-fiber insulation boards is a central function of the Fraunhofer WKI. We thereby bear in mind the durability of the system as well as the influence on the supporting structure (wooden construction).

Our models for the generation of hygrothermal characteristic values for wood-based materials enable the prediction of the material properties of wood-based materials, which are important for the building physics. This provides the possibility of significantly reducing the scope of laboratory experiments, which results in substantial savings in both time and costs.