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  • © Fraunhofer WKI

    It is impossible to imagine current politics and the daily press without the topics “climate change” and “energy transition”. Topics that are virtually part of the Fraunhofer WKI's DNA. The institute has been researching resource- and climate-friendly materials for a future worth living in for 75 years. In the current episode of the Fraunhofer podcast series “Experience research – Listen to the future”, Professor Bohumil Kasal, Director of the Fraunhofer WKI, talks about the history, current projects and future challenges of the institute.

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  • The photo shows a floating island and a person who is lifting up a corner of the island. On the underside, the roots of the plants can be seen.
    © Designstudio »morgen.« | Martha Starke

    With the support of the Fraunhofer WKI, Beate Kapfenberger and Martha Starke from the design studio “morgen.” are infusing new life into the Fleete (canals) of Hamburg’s inner city. Once filled with boats, sailors and wares from all over the world, the waterways are now largely unused and devoid of vegetation. Together with researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI, the designers have developed floating islands which can carry plants and which are made from a lightweight material that consists entirely of renewable raw resources. Through this project, a new form of green space will be created in the city: valuable biotopes, recreational spaces and meeting places on the water. Interested parties can help to plant and launch the islands on 1st June 2022 June 21, 2022.

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  • The photo shows Professor Dr.-Ing. Bohumil Kasal and Professor Dr.-Ing. Hans-Jörg Bullinger at the ZELUBA®.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau

    On 10th May 2022, representatives of research-funding foundations embraced the opportunity to experience live science at the Fraunhofer WKI in the new “Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA®”. Addressing the topic of “Together achieving more: Research funding for sustainable development”, they participated in a discussion with researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI and with the Fraunhofer Future Foundation.

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  • The photo shows four wood-based panels with a variety of colors and textures.
    © Studio Sofia Souidi

    With support from the Fraunhofer WKI, designer Sofia Souidi has developed wood-based panels made from wood fibers and casein. Casein is a formaldehyde-free binder that was already being used as an adhesive many centuries ago. Mixed-in color pigments and granulates combined with 3D moldability enable a diverse range of design possibilities. The material consists of recycled components and is itself recyclable.

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  • The computer graphic shows a wooden beam. On top of the beam is a slab composed of three layers (from bottom to top): wooden formwork, adhesive layer, concrete.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Christoph Pöhler

    Reinforced concrete is durable and robust but has a large CO2 footprint. Timber, on the other hand, is sustainable and absorbs carbon, although it has inherent negative properties. Hybrid timber systems, by contrast, combine sustainability and strength. The Fraunhofer WKI develops suitable adhesives and tests the long-term stability of the hybrid timber materials.

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  • The photo shows a hand which is holding and slightly bending an approximately 5 cm thick flexible insulation mat made from wheat straw.
    © Fraunhofer WKI

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI, in collaboration with partners in Chile, have developed insulation materials from plant residues. As a result, the largely unused plant “waste” that accumulates in the Chilean agricultural, forestry and timber industries can now be utilized meaningfully. The utilization of insulation materials made from local raw resources provides a contribution towards improving the environmental balance of the construction industry in Chile and opens up new, previously untapped value-added possibilities.

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  • The photo shows a house with a garden can be seen. The façade is plastered and painted in two colors.
    © Fraunhofer WKI

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI and the Technische Universität Braunschweig have developed models for predicting the overall behavior of external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS) in wooden construction. The results are being incorporated into a guideline. In the future, it will therefore be easier to integrate new components into ETICS which have already been approved. In addition, opportunities for material innovations are being created, in particular as regards renewable raw materials. ETICS which have already been approved can be optimized as a result of the new findings on suitability for use.

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  • The photo shows the cross-section of a panel. The two outer layers each consist of an approx. 5 mm thick layer of plywood, the foam glass core is light gray and approx. 8 mm thick.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI, in collaboration with Patrick Leleu Furnier GmbH, have characterized and developed a non-combustible lightweight panel made from renewable raw materials. The material conforms to ship standards for fire protection in the interior outfitting of ships. The lightweight panel is not only more environmentally friendly but also easier to work with than conventional inorganic materials. It can, for example, be installed as a cabin wall.

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  • The photo shows an asphalt test specimen with integrated sensor fabric in a testing machine.
    © Fraunhofer IFAM I Marc-Oliver Becker

    In collaboration with the Hochschule Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, and the Fraunhofer IFAM, scientists at the Fraunhofer WKI have begun fundamental research into a measurement system which can be used to measure the condition of a road over long distances - at any time, and without damaging the road. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has enabled and funded the project. Reconstruction measures could consequently be planned better and earlier - ideally for a timeframe outside of vacation periods. Up until now, core tests have been carried out. These cause additional damage to the road to be examined, incur expense, and result in road closures. They can therefore only be performed on a random basis.

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  • Portraitfoto von Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andrea Siebert-Raths
    © China Hopson

    On 1st October 2021, Professor Dr.-Ing. Andrea Siebert-Raths took over as Head of the Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET® at the Fraunhofer WKI. The expert for sustainable technologies intends to expand the contribution which the HOFZET® provides towards the bioeconomy. She replaces René Schaldach, who had taken over the departmental leadership on a temporary basis.

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