Institute of

Wood Research

Assessment of the quality of newly introduced exchange woods, plantation wood and new wood and composite materials

A sample during testing of its compression strength
A sample during testing of its compression strength (© Thünen-Institut/Christina Waitkus)

Due to the intensive utilisation of forest as natural resources some of the well-established wood assortments are not available in sufficient quantity and / or quality to meet market and costumers requirements. Increasingly, lesser known species are more and more utilised.

To assess the range of possible applications for these kind of wood species a science-based evaluation of properties is required. In this context the natural durability is an important aspect. The preliminary classification of the natural durability based on laboratory tests according to EN 350-1 (1994). However it is known that this classification can deviate considerably from the classification derived from field tests. As a critical manner to be seen is that in the past was not distinguished between “UC 3: durability in use class 3” (Outdoor application without ground contact) and “durability in UC 4” (Outdoor application with ground or fresh water contact) according to DIN EN 335 (2013). Data should be provided on the basis of systematically investigations of commercial wood under practical conditions as well as concerning the treatability of these timber species in order to update the standard EN 350 or to improve the properties (for example fire resistance or hydrophobicity). In addition the single values will be published via the freely available IRG durability database for the scientific community.

The properties of wood-based panels are depending on raw materials (i.e. wood species, resin type) and on process parameters. For developing new wood-based material as well as the optimisation of product and process conditions of well-known wood-based panels the effect of modified processes on the panel properties need to be evaluated. Regarding this aspect the requirement profile has a great spectrum, i.e. strength, moisture resistance, thermal conductivity, emissions and many more.