Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Wood Material Science and Technology

The wood material science and technology group, led by assistant professor Lauri Rautkari, focuses on a variety of subjects ranging from developing thermal modification processes and improving the properties of wooden construction materials to microbiology and chemistry of wood and wood components. The aim of this group is to develop new sustainable, environmentally friendly and diverse wood products with enhanced properties.

Our research areas:

  1. Fundamental research on water interactions of biomaterials

  2. Chemical imaging of biomaterials

  3. Wood modification


The aim of our research is to increase the understanding of wood material behavior and developing products and processes for wood industry. We are using state-of-art analyzing and characterization tools and equipment such as confocal Raman microscope, NIR hyperspectral camera, FTIR spectrometer, dynamic vapor sorption (DVS) apparatus and mechanical testing devices. We are able to use several reactors, ovens and other process equipment.

Research subjects:



Thermal and chemical modification of wood

We research the phenomena behind the changes in wood material due to different modification methods, such as thermal and chemical modification, e.g., innovative hot water modification process for solid wood, as well as developing novel analysis techniques to study water vapor sorption phenomena.

Surface modification of wood

We study wood modification by one-sided surface charring in order to create a durable, ecological and maintenance-free construction material for wall claddings and sidings, as well as for other purposes both indoors and outdoors.

Pine extractives and natural durability of wood

We investigate the ways in which pine wood extractives prevent the growth of wood decaying fungi and study how the fungi work to overcome the effects of those extractives.

Antibacterial properties of wood extracts

We study the antibacterial properties of wood components, such as extractives, lignin and VOC's especially in terms of pathogenic bacteria.

Chemical imaging of wood

We are applying confocal Raman microspectroscopy and chemometrics to analyze cellular level changes during wood decay and the distribution of chemical modification agents. We are also developing methods to study local changes in water vapor sorption in the wood cell wall in-situ.

Wood-based panels and lignin adhesives

We are developing environmentally bening, greener adhesives for the wood panel industry by utilizing the versatility of wood lignin.

Wood veneer and plywood properties

We aim to improve the properties of wood veneer by investigating the effect of drying parameters on the hydroxyl group accessibility and glueability of green birch veneers, as well as increase the fire-retardant properties of veneers for plywood production and investigate the impact of treatments on bondability and sorption behavior.

Ongoing research:

  • Recycling possibilities for wooden packaging waste and wood working industry by-products - RecycledWood (KiertoPuu; EU/ERDF 2019-2020)
  • Wood modification using pressurized hot water - HOTWOOD (Academy of Finland, 2017-2021)
  • Interactions of wood and water in the nanoscale - WooD2O (AoF 2018-2021)
  • Charred surface as a durable, sustainable façade material for the future of wood construction - CHARFACE (AoF 2019-2022)
  • Thermal modification of wood in aqueous media (EU/ERDF 2018-2020)
  • Several ongoing industrial projects (2014 -)
Demonstrating thermal modification of wood - photo: Olli Häkämies

The 4-year Academy of Finland funded project HotWood investigates what happens to the ultrastructure of wood, when it is modified in superheated water at high pressure. Find out more about this and other projects at metsä.fi!

CHEM_Prof Lauri Rautkari

Join us!

We are continuously looking for talented researchers (Aalto students, MSc thesis workers, doctoral students and postdocs).

For further information, contact Prof. Lauri Rautkari ([email protected])

Research group members:

CHEM_Bio_Wood material and technology group photo

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Latest publications:

Distribution and curing reactions of melamine formaldehyde resin in cells of impregnation-modified wood

Michael Altgen, Muhammad Awais, Daniela Altgen, André Klüppel, Mikko Mäkelä, Lauri Rautkari 2020 Scientific Reports

Effect of curing conditions on the water vapor sorption behavior of melamine formaldehyde resin and resin-modified wood

Michael Altgen, Daniela Altgen, André Klüppel, Lauri Rautkari 2020 Journal of Materials Science

Time-dependent wettability changes on plasma-treated surfaces of unmodified and thermally modified European beech wood

D. Altgen, M. Altgen, S. Kyyrö, L. Rautkari, C. Mai 2020 European Journal of Wood and Wood Products

Improvement of interfacial interaction in impregnated wood via grafting methyl methacrylate onto wood cell walls

Youming Dong, Michael Altgen, Mikko Mäkelä, Lauri Rautkari, Mark Hughes, Jianzhang Li, Shifeng Zhang 2020 Holzforschung

The effect of diammonium phosphate and sodium silicate on the adhesion and fire properties of birch veneer

Saara Hautamäki, Michael Altgen, Daniela Altgen, Erik Larnøy, Tuomas Hänninen, Lauri Rautkari 2020 Holzforschung

Effects of water soaking-drying cycles on thermally modified spruce wood-plastic composites

Susanna Kallbom, Kristiina Lillqvist, Steven Spoljaric, Jukka Seppälä, Kristoffer Segerholm, Lauri Rautkari, Mark Hughes, Magnus Walinder 2020 Wood and Fiber Science

Hyperspectral near infrared image calibration and regression

Mikko Mäkelä, Paul Geladi, Marja Rissanen, Lauri Rautkari, Olli Dahl 2020 Analytica Chimica Acta

Lignin-fatty acid hybrid nanocapsules for scalable thermal energy storage in phase-change materials

Mika H. Sipponen, Alexander Henn, Paavo Penttilä, Monika Österberg 2020 Chemical Engineering Journal

Dynamic vapour sorption protocols for the quantification of accessible hydroxyl groups in wood

Tuuli Uimonen, Saara Hautamäki, Michael Altgen, Maija Kymäläinen, Lauri Rautkari 2020 Holzforschung

Ultrastructural X-ray scattering studies of tropical and temperate hardwoods used as tonewoods

Mira Viljanen, Patrik Ahvenainen, Paavo Penttilä, Hanna Help, Kirsi J. Svedström 2020 IAWA JOURNAL
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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