Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA

Profile

The Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures at the Fraunhofer WKI develops solutions for the building sector. Not only industry partners from the fields of wood-based materials and pre-fabricated houses, but also manual-trade companies receive our support in the development of new systems. One particular area of expertise within our department is the combination of simulation processes with building-physical and mechanically-constructive investigation methods. The spectrum covers the development of materials for use in buildings through the complicated questions concerning individual details to complete wall systems. The improvement of the technical feasibility and suitability, as well as the optimization of the economic efficiency, is in the foreground of most developments.   

One main research focus within the center is the development of reactive fire protection systems to improve the behavior of building materials and the fire resistance of components, installations and structures. A further focus is the development of detailed solutions and new materials with improved fire characteristics.

Load-bearing behaviour

We investigate the static-constructive properties of wood-based structures and materials through trials and simulations. Furthermore, we specialize in the consideration of the complex and holistic relationships. 

 

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. 

Fire Protection

We develop new solutions for improving the fire protection of wood and wood-based materials. Intumescent fire-protection coatings, smolder-resistant wood-fiber insulation materials and flame-retardant wood-plastic composite materials thereby form the main focus of our research work.

Simulation

With numerical simulation, invisible effects can be visualized and test results can be explained. We create prognoses and validate hypotheses. Furthermore, we have our own measurement technology for the verification of the simulations as well as for the examination of construction parts in real size.

Hybrid material systems

The construction of lightweight and environmentally sound structures requires the development of hybrid material systems for multi-story buildings. 

ZELUBA Start-up project

Since 2014, the Fraunhofer WKI and the TU Braunschweig have been working together within the framework of the ZELUBA Start-up project on the conceptional development of a modular hybrid construction system for lightweight and environmentally-friendly structures. Scientists from the Fraunhofer WKI and six institutes of the Technical University in Braunschweig bring extensive expertise from diverse specialist fields into the project.

The first project phase served the substantive and organizational linking of the project participants as well as fundamental research. The focus is currently on the integration of industrial partners and the acquisition of research projects into system and product development.

Research Projects

Momentum connectors
© Photo Fraunhofer WKI

Momentum connectors

The aim of the project is the development of sensor-controlled, ultra-high-performance momentum connectors with high energy dissipation potential for indestructible high-rise buildings in earthquake areas.

Beech hybrid element for modern wooden construction
© Photo Fraunhofer WKI | Nils Essing

Beech hybrid element for modern wooden construction

The beech hybrid element is planned for use as a ceiling element and can thereby bridge a span of 10 meters under normal loads in residential and commercial construction.

Lightweight concrete with beech wood additives
© Photo Fraunhofer WKI

Lightweight concrete with beech wood additives

Prefabricated concrete products exhibit a very high mass with simultaneous high thermal conductivity. In order to realize an improvement in these properties, this project aims to replace the mineral components with wood constituents.

Glimmer and smolder behavior of thermal insulation materials
© Photo Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau

Glimmer and smolder behavior of thermal insulation materials

In addition to our testing activities in accordance with DIN EN 16733 we have developed procedures with which the glimmer behavior of thermal insulation materials can be examined and evaluated in more detail.

Hygrothermic characteristic values of wood-based materials
© Photo Fraunhofer WKI | Norbert Rüther

Hygrothermic characteristic values of wood-based materials

In this research project, the entire hygrothermic characteristic values of all wood-based materials were examined for the first time, in order to enable simulation of the component behavior.

Fire protection coating for UHPC
© Photo Fraunhofer WKI

Fire protection coating for UHPC

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is up to ten times as hard as common concrete. However, when exposed to fire, UHPC can burst open explosively due to the sharply rising temperature. How can this effect be minimized?