Wood Material Technology
Wood is a truly renewable material that, unlike many other materials, requires little energy to convert it into functional products. Synthesised from sunlight and carbon dioxide, trees sequester atmospheric CO2 during growth and when converted to wood products, the carbon is stored away until the “trapped” carbon is released by burning or natural biodegradation. This means that long-lasting wooden structures and artefacts can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and make a positive contribution to combating Climate Change. Wood has many other attributes too. In addition to being an excellent structural material it can act as moisture buffer, helping to control the interior environment of buildings. It is also a good thermal and sound insulator as well as visually appealing. Wood also forms the basis of a range of wood-composite products that can be extremely resource efficient and its properties can be modified to provide new functionality. Finally, unlike money, wood really does grow on trees!
Teaching in wood science and technology now forms part of the Fiber and Polymer Engineering major under the Master's Program in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering. It is continually being developed to ensure that students are given the most up-to-date education in this rapidly evolving field. As such, the teaching carried out very much reflects the research activities of the group. As part of Aalto Wood – a collaboration between the departments of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Forest Products Technology - we contribute to the multi-disciplinary education of students of architecture, civil and structural engineering, believing that there is huge potential for wood to contribute to a more sustainable future.
Current research falls under two broad categories:
- The use of wood in healthy and climate-smart buildings
- Utilization of bio-based fibers in high performance polymer matrix composites
Under the category of the use of wood in healthy and climate-smart buildings, research themes include:
- Wood as a means to mitigate climate change
Forestry and wood industry have a role in mitigating climate change. We look into the wood supply chain and the potential of wood products as carbon storage, collaborating with the wood processing industry in Finland.
- Wood as a sustainable building material
The sustainability assessment of buildings includes environmental, economical and social aspects. We assess the contribution of wood materials in sustainable buildings through a life cycle approach.
- Wood as a cascading product
To promote a sustainable use of wood products is important to increase recirculation of wood materials. We analyse the environmental impacts of different wood cascading options: energy recovery, recycling and reuse.
- Wood as a buffering material for indoor air quality and thermal comfort
Wood materials are increasingly used in the built environment, besides they can contribute to the well-being of users in buildings. We investigate the contribution of wooden products in the indoor air quality and thermal comfort of buildings.