Game-changing designs for sustainable and affordable protection of mass timber products against fungal decay.

01 November 2021 → 30 April 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Mycology
  • Engineering and technology
    • Sustainable building
    • Construction materials
    • Destructive and non-destructive testing of materials
    • Timber, pulp and paper
Construction timber Non-destructive imaging Protection by material design
Project description

Construction timber and engineered wood products are key building elements in the transition towards a more sustainable building industry. However, many wooden building elements are (to some extent) biodegradable which makes them vulnerable to decay risk when used in applications with a fungal decay risk. If they are to become widely applicable, there is need for affordable and sustainable wood protection methods that can be applied on a large scale. While wood and wood products are highly tailorable, most efforts are focused on optimizing mechanical properties, while great potential for improving service life through material design remains largely underexplored. In this project, I will investigate how smart material design can be used as a tool to extend service life of construction timber and engineered wood products. Cutting-edge characterization tools will be used to fundamentally understand the mechanisms behind different structural modification strategies at cellular level for improvement and optimal implementation in smart material design. The influence of various material designs on moisture dynamics and decay progress will be assessed with X-ray CT and MRI, ultimately resulting in a number of game-changing designs that can be employed for affordable and sustainable protection of timber-fame and massive timber constructions.