Professor Libo Yan takes over as head of the Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA® at the Fraunhofer WKI

Press release /

Since July 1, 2022, Professor Libo Yan (PhD) has been the Head of the Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA® at the Fraunhofer WKI. The expert for the research areas “Hybrid Material Systems” as well as “Organic Building Materials and Wood-Based Materials” replaces Institute Director Professor Dr.-Ing. Bohumil Kasal, who had taken over the department management on a provisional basis.

The photo shows Professor Yan at a laboratory table with various material samples.
© Fraunhofer WKI
The new department head, Professor Libo Yan, shown here conducting research at ZELUBA®.

Professor Yan teaches at the Technical University of Braunschweig as an “Adjunct Professor” at the Institute of Building Materials, Concrete Construction and Fire Safety in the field of Organic Building Materials and Wooden Materials. He also heads the junior research group of the Fraunhofer WKI and the TU Braunschweig and was previously scientific director of ZELUBA®. The International Institute for FRP (fiber-reinforced polymer) in Construction (IIFC) honored Professor Yan with the 2021 IIFC Distinguished Young Researcher Award. He received the award for his contributions to the application of FRP composites in building infrastructure and in particular to the promotion of natural FRP composites.

As head of department at the Fraunhofer WKI, Professor Yan would like to develop new subject fields: “My research focuses on hybrid structural and material systems, organic and inorganic building materials and wood-based materials, fiber- and textile-reinforced polymer and cement composites, impact strength and dynamic properties of structures, recycled concrete, and the durability of building materials. With these research fields and a highly qualified team at ZELUBA®, I would like to contribute to the further development of the Fraunhofer WKI as a whole.”

Institute Director Professor Kasal is looking forward to the continued close cooperation:

“Professor Yan is a dedicated scientist in the field of natural fiber construction, whom we greatly value for his proven expertise at the Fraunhofer WKI. With his new position, we are consolidating a successful collaboration, also with TU Braunschweig, where Professor Yan has already been leading the joint junior research group since 2018.”

With the new research building of ZELUBA® on the campus of the TU Braunschweig, the cooperation with the TU Braunschweig will be further deepened, says Professor Yan. Here, the researchers combine simulation methods with structural-physical and mechanical-constructive investigative methods. The spectrum ranges from the development of bio-based, high-performance building materials and the complex issues of individual details to the development of complete wall and ceiling elements. Another research focus of ZELUBA® is the development of reactive fire protection systems that improve the building material behavior and the fire resistance of building elements, installations and structures.

From April 2015 to April 2021, Professor Yan held a junior professorship at the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences at TU Braunschweig. Before coming to TU Braunschweig, he was employed as a scientist at Fraunhofer WKI's ZELUBA® for several months. Professor Yan holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Chongqing University, China, a Master of Science (with distinction) in Structural Engineering from Cardiff University, United Kingdom, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

He has authored over 110 scientific publications, including 6 book chapters, 85 ISI journal articles, and over 25 peer-reviewed conference papers. Several of his papers have been listed as “Highly Cited Papers” by Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics). Professor Yan serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Frontiers in Materials, Advances in Civil Engineering, and as a guest editor of the Journal of Polymers and the Journal of Sustainability.  He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Composite Materials and Engineering. Professor Yan has been invited to give seminars at universities and research institutes in Germany, China, Australia, Czech Republic, and New Zealand, and has received a number of international and national awards.  

The background of the Fraunhofer WKI

Sustainability through the utilization of renewable raw materials has formed the focus at the Fraunhofer WKI for 75 years. The institute, with locations in Braunschweig, Hanover, and Wolfsburg, specializes in process engineering, natural-fiber composites, binders and coatings, wood and emission protection, quality assurance of wood products, material and product testing, recycling procedures and the utilization of organic building materials and wood in construction. Virtually all the procedures and materials resulting from the research activities are applied industrially. 

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