Wood Chemistry

We develop high-performance material technologies and products based on fundamental chemical components and extractives from wood, bark and other plant-based raw materials.

Our key focus areas are: Substitution of non-renewable raw materials with high-performance, environmentally friendly applications, raw material optimisation and conservation in material cycles and the use of by-products from the forestry, agriculture and sawmill industries as materials and the development of material technologies and products on this basis.

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Service portfolio

Research projects commissioned by companies and institutions

  • Technology developments tailored to the size of the company (from micro-enterprises to industrial companies)
  • Support with applying for research funding from national and international funding organisations (including Innosuisse, FOEN, Horizon 2020, M-ERA.NET)
  • Testing services for extractives from wood, bark and other plant-based raw materials
  • Testing services for material emissions and room air quality
  • Testing services for chemistry and structural analysis 

We are heavily involved in teaching and continuing education. We supervise students’ projects and theses. We also frequently engage master’s students as assistants in research projects. In this way, we contribute to training the experts of the future.

We have connections with the following academic programmes and courses of continuing education:

We aim to transfer all non-confidential research into practice. To this end, we hold events and lectures, write specialist articles, conduct tours, organise workshops, and present our results at trade fairs.

Areas of expertise

Our research work is based on extensive material science and chemical knowledge about bio-based and synthetic basic materials and the products they are used to make.
We possess comprehensive scientific and technological expertise in the following areas:

  • Processing of biomass as a by-product of the forestry, agricultural and sawmill industries
  • Biomass fractionation and extraction
  • Chemical characterisation of basic components and extractives
  • Applications using the chemical, physical, bio-active and mechanical properties of basic components and extractives in binding agents, insulation and structural foams, coating systems and fibre-reinforced composite materials.


Institute for Materials and Wood Technology IWH

Wood chemistry is one of the key focus areas of the Institute for Materials and Wood Technology IWH. At the IWH, we develop and optimise multifunctional wood and composite materials as well as innovative products for the wood and construction industry with the emphasis on the sustainable use of resources. Other key focus areas are:

Infrastructure

We have extremely well-equipped chemistry and materials laboratories available to us for the professional performance of services and development mandates:

  • Fully automated preparative liquid chromatograph
  • High pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC) with UV detection
  • Gas chromatographs with MS and FID detection
  • Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC)
  • UV/VIS spectrometer
  • IR spectrometer
  • NIR spectrometer
  • Particle size analyser (zetasizer)
  • Thermogravimetry (TGA)
  • Rotational viscosimeter
  • Tensiometer
  • Contact angle measuring instrument
  • Atomic force microscope
  • pH meter
  • Autoclaves and reactors, 250 ml to 10 l
  • Micro-compounder with injection-moulding unit
  • Extraction systems for solid-liquid extraction with organic solvents or hot water
  • Extraction system for liquid CO2 extraction