Wood technical research

Photo: Folkhem och General Architecture.

Wood has great potential as a material for homes and public buildings, as well as for conversions and extensions. The material is light, strong and climate-smart. The development of cross laminated timber means that we are now seeing more and more multi-storey wooden buildings in our cities. The industrial wooden house construction of single-family houses and apartment buildings has gained considerable momentum, and has many advantages due to rapid construction on site and reduced disruption during construction.

What research is needed?

For sawmills and manufacturers of wood products, the research challenges are mainly linked to resource-efficient use of the material throughout the manufacturing process. For example, in sawmill research X-ray computed tomography is used to determine the properties of a log. In this way, the areas of use for the log can be identified and optimised from the start of its path towards the end product.

When it comes to wooden house construction, research on assessment models and systems for wooden construction is needed. In this way manufacturers can become secure about their choice of wood as a construction material.

Wood is an excellent material for renovation, conversion and extension of existing buildings, but further research is needed into how wood can be combined with other materials. By combining the right materials, great opportunities open for reduction in weight and improvements in performance.

The wooden material is advantageous in circular flows. It is important that wood products are already prepared for recycling at the design stage. Here, research and good examples are needed regarding circular design, recycling systems and recycled wood as a new raw material.

Wood is exported to large international markets. Therefore, research is needed into obstacles and opportunities regarding the export of wooden building elements, and wooden building systems.

Research is also needed on issues such as fire and durability, flame retardancy, and acoustics. Other areas of development are new manufacturing methods for bio-based materials, insulation and adhesives.

Another important development area where research can make a difference, is increased digitalisation in the information flow and traceability between actors in the value chain. 

In the Swedish Forestry Industry's research agenda 4.0, you can read more about the forestry industry's shared needs for research and development.

Important research initiatives

Wood technology research needs to be strengthened and one important initiative is being run from Luleå University of Technology, where investments are being made in wood technology research in Skellefteå.   

Read more about the CT Wood research programme. This is an initiative supported by Swedish Forest Industries and Swedish Wood.

Several research projects are also underway with funding through the strategic innovation programme BioInnovation and Vinnova, including Timber on Top, which works with wooden extensions.