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.