Researchers from the WKI developed an insulation material made from 100 percent renewable raw materials without synthetic binders - the so-called wood foam. The density of the wood foam can be varied technically in order to determine the properties of the wood foam such as strength, thermal conductivity and sound absorption. The strength of the wood foam is created by the activation of the wood's own cohesiveness.
In a new research project, the researchers are currently investigating the application of the wood foam as a lightweight façade element. The exhibited sandwich element consists of an innovative core material - wood foam - and thin-walled surface layers made from textile-reinforced concrete. The combination of these two materials enables technical properties which are similar to those of sandwich elements already available on the market, which are mainly produced from petrochemical raw materials. The possible fields of application for the sandwich element are also being identified within this research project. Under consideration are both indoor applications and useful outdoor applications with high recyclability. The wood foam is intended to replace the customarily used PUR and XPS foams. The special advantage of wood foam is the associated conservation of resources, as the material is produced using wood residues from regionally available species of wood, without the addition of a binder made from fossil raw materials.
Not only panel materials can be manufactured; 3D wood-based materials, impact sound insulation and weight-reduced, recyclable transport packaging can also be produced. This opens up new application possibilities for other industrial sectors. For ecological lightweight construction applications, the wood foam is combined with classical wood-based materials, metals, concrete, plastics or even WPC as a surface layer. Lightweight hybrid materials with higher functionality can be utilized as component elements in cars, furniture panels etc.