Bio-inspired Wood Materials
The bio-inspired wood materials group has a focus on modification and functionalization of the hierarchical wood structure as well as in-depth characterization of the developed material combinations.
Bio-mineralization, metallization and in-situ polymerization techniques are applied to improve the performance of wood in established fields of application (e.g. flammability, dimensional stability) or to add new functionalities to the material. By using the anisotropic and hierarchical structure of wood as scaffold and functionalizing it at the nano- and microscale, smart materials with yet uncommon material combinations can be generated. More about bio-inspired wood materials
Wood Actuation & Mechanics
The group is interested in two aspects of wood.
We analyse cell wall and tissue mechanics down to the molecular level using native, genetically and chemically modified wood. On the other hand we use the swelling and shrinking of wood for developing smart materials which are capable of reversible actuation on large scale in response to changes in humidity. More about wood actuation & mechanics
Functional Lignocellulosic Materials
Nature is able to build structures with a limited palette of materials, but with unparalleled architectural complexity. In comparison, manmade synthetic materials are extremely diverse in nature but they are structurally more basic. These materials would have remarkably improved properties if sophisticated structures from biological materials could be reproduced in a controlled manner. Therefore, the development of new techniques to implement nano- and microscopic features into large scale structures is a major challenge facing materials scientists.
Wood is a wonderful example of a highly sophisticated hierarchical structure, which can be exploited to develop a vast variety of functional materials. As opposed to synthetic materials produced by a bottom-up approach, this hierarchical structure already provides the intrinsic solution to up-scaling problems. More about functional Lignocellulosic materials
Applied wood science and technology
The core activity of the group “Applied Wood Science and Technology” is the wood related technology transfer from science into practice.
New technological approaches have to go a long way before they can successfully be implemented into the environment of private enterprises. Moreover, this is just the first stage of a challenging process, which finally leads to the market entry of a new product.
We are dedicated to developing new concepts for coping with new wood related technological challenges. This also comprises the upscaling of innovative processes from lab scale to pilot scale as well as the accordant ramp-up support on-site. More about applied wood science and technology
Wood Surfaces & Interfaces
The Wood Surfaces and Interfaces group explores the toolbox of nanotechnology to valorize this renewable material by improving its durability and equip it with novel functionalities.
While wood as bulk material is lightweight with outstanding mechanical properties, the wood surface provides a unique and well appreciated aesthetic appearance. But it is also the wood surface that is in direct contact with environmental factors that induce wood degradation by UV-light, water or biological attack. To combat this, we investigate novel protective coatings which preserve the aesthetic appearance and attach strongly to the wood interface providing good mechanical stability. More about wood surfaces & interfaces
The road between the Nanoworld and the Bioworld is a two-way road. Going one or the other way, one can address the demands and problems of various fundamental and applied scientific fields, such as biomedicine, material- and environmental sciences.
The incorporation of functional nanoparticles (e.g. magnetic, plasmonic or fluorescent NPs) in biomaterials yields nano-bio hybrid materials that exhibit novel properties that go beyond the natural ones. For example, the incorporation/assembly of the superparamagnetic magnetite nanoparticles in anisotropic and hierarchical structure of wood materials, yields a magnetic wood material, with a magnetic anisotropy dictated by the wood structure. By the incorporation of inflammable and non-hazardous minerals such as calcium carbonate in the wood structure, fire-retarding wood materials are obtained. More about hierarchical nano-bio-materials