Research profile

The aim of our group is to expand the utilizationof wood by tailoring performance of wood material to specific applications, thus improving beneficial properties and meeting the challenges which limit the use of wood in specific applications. Our research is organized in four main themes which focus on:

  • improving material properties for a borader applicability of wood
  • introducing novel functionalities to wood
  • using and implementing the responsiveness of wood to environmental changes (air humidity) or other external stimuli
  • in-depth nano- and microstructural, chemical and mechanical characterization of wood cells and cell walls
Bio-inspired Wood Materials
Schematic of the functionalization of the wood scaffold

Group-leader: Ingo Burgert

The Bio-inspired Wood Materials group has a focus on modification and functionalization of the hierarchical wood structure as well as in-depth characterization of the developed material combinations. Bio-mineralization, metallization and in-situ polymerization techniques are applied to improve the performance of wood in established fields of application (e.g. flammability, dimensional stability) or to add new functionalities to the material. By using the anisotropic and hierarchical structure of wood as scaffold and functionalizing it at the nano- and microscale, smart materials with yet uncommon material combinations can be generated. These wood-mineral-hybrid materials and wood-polymer composites are structurally, chemically and physically characterized using high-resolution analysis techniques, such as Raman microscopy, AFM, SNOM.

a) Scheme of the working principle of the quantitative imaging mode where the AFM image consists of a force curve for every pixel. b) Overlay of AFM height images of a cross-section of native beech cell wall (10 x 10, 3 x 3 micrometer and 500 x 500 nm).