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Novel sustainable wood composite material for light weight products for the building and/or other industries

Country of Origin: Austria
Reference Number: TOAT20191003001
Publication Date: 3 October 2019

Summary

An Austrian research center has produced in collaboration with a company a novel technology for a highly efficient wood composite material for light weight products. The technology was developed, tested and patented for the production of new wood particles and the formation of high strength and stiff engineered wood products such as beams, profiles, panels or even 3d-shaped parts for the building industry. The technology is offered for acquisition or licensing by potential manufacturers.

Description

An Austrian research center has created a novel technolgy for creating high performance engineered wooden products with considerably lower weight. The new wooden product is a flexible and lightweight material, with significantly enhanced properties, which can be used for a wide range of applications in the construction and plastics industry, substituting other non-sustainable products. The technology is based on 14 years of research in cooperation with a leading producer of construction formwork in Austria.

Engineered wooden products are traditionally manufactured by cutting the wood into particles (like chips and strands) and then forming beams or panels in highly efficient chipboard or oriented strand board (OSB). In order to form these boards, the particles are pressed on the natural grown fibers resulting in shortened fibers (due to particle size and cutting angle). This novel technology leads to particles with cosiderably greater length (50 to 300 mm) and cross dimensions (approximately 1 to 5 mm), based an a non-cutting process. Thus, it enables the end-product to have the full load bearing capacity of the natural grown fibre, while being optimal for the production of lightweight wooden products when processed further with different binders. Orientation of the particles can be done similar to OSB-production in one or two directions. Standard equipment for engineered wood products manufacturing (drying, gluing, pressing) can be used.

Possible applications of this new wooden product could include slim timber constructions, profiles for windows (enabling thin profiles and/or big window frames) or products for outdoor uses in constructions, furniture or planks (due to its high durability). Its flexibility allows also for form pressed parts to be produced, whereas different shapes can be flexibly formed: profiles, rectangular or I-shaped beams, panels or even 3d-shaped products.e.g. for load bearing skins. Moreover, very light but stable products in the range of 200 to 300 kg/m³ with very low swelling and high thermal insulation can be produced for sustainable building products. Last, due to the high strength and stiffness of the particles, other alternative uses are possible (tests have been successfully completed by incorporating cement matrix).

The technology fits best for coniferous timber, like for example spruce. The method for the production of the novel particles as well as of products made of these particles is patented. A huge variety of laboratory samples within the possible product range was produced and tested. A broad basis of documented know-how is available both on product characteristics as well as on production parameters. The technical feasibility of the particle production and the panel production process is proved by more than 2 tons of produced particles on a pilot equipment.

The whole know-how is offered for licensing or acquisition with technical assistance for the technology transfer.

Advantages and Innovations

The technology has three main advantages: 
1. Specific strength and stiffness: the profiles or panels made of the novel particles is outperforming all existing particle based wood based materials like chipboard, OSB etc., and is even better than glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) profiles. Therefore the material is perfect for light weight constructions and has the potential to substitute products with natural wood based material contributing to better sustainability and environmental improvements.

2. Easy to produce through the applicability of conventional binders: phenolic resins like Phenol-Formaldehyde (PF), Melamine-Formaldehyde (MF), Melamine-Urea-Formaldehyde (MUF) or Polymeric Diphenylmethane Diisocyanates (PMDI) may be used or foaming matrix materials like Polyurethane Resins (PUR).

3. Diversity of products produced with different properties: by varying matrix type and content a wide range of products can be produced with varying properties:
- density range from 200 to 1200 kg/m³,
- strength 10 to 150 N/mm²,
- modulus of elasticity (MOE) 0,5 to 25 GPa,
- durability from low to very high,
- thickness swelling 3 to 30%.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

The further development of the project is currently stopped. Samples of different laboratory tests within the range of density, strength, stiffness, binders, profiles, and 3d-shaped skins are available for demonstration. Further comprehensive test results of this samples as well as process parameters are available.

Requested partner

The whole know-how is offered for licensing or for a non-exclusive acquisition paired with the provision of a number of services in support of, or essential to, this transfer of technology. 

Type and activity of partners sought: SMEs, corporates, industry active in the building, construction, plastics, polymers or other industries interested in new environmentally sustainable materials. The partner ideally should have a production capacity in order to further manufacture, distribute and sell the product.

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