The Institute for Materials and Wood Technology, based at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, use methodological competence and creativity to develop applied solutions for business.
At the Institute for Materials and Wood Technology, focusing on the sustainable use of our resources, we develop multi-functional wood and composite materials as well as innovative products for the timber and construction industries. Our extensive knowledge of wood and other renewable materials enables us to find innovative ways of using these materials. We are searching for ways to protect wood-based materials through the use of coatings, surface modifications, and impregnation systems and we develop innovative adhesive and composite materials. The environmental friendliness of the materials, processes, and products we develop is important to us. We also work on improving indoor air quality by developing and applying lowemission, odorless materials.
We work in close cooperation with producers of woodbased materials, adhesives manufacturers, and producers of coatings and paints, as well as with companies in the furniture and construction industries.
To assure proper execution of our research and development projects, our team of material scientists, wood technologists, chemists, and engineers work closely together as an interdisciplinary team.
Our collaborators have a state-of-the-art infrastructure at their disposal that includes well-equipped laboratories for materials, surfaces, adhesives, chemistry and microscopy.
Materials, Furniture and Design
Developing new materials and products calls for creativity, technical know-how, and a thorough grasp of economics and ecology. Based on these competencies, we develop applied solutions for the development of wood-based materials and, together with our business partners, put them into practice. We give careful consideration to a holistic view of the development process from raw material, the material, the production processes, to the finished product. In parallel, we also carry out life cycle analyses and assess the economics of products and processes.
Area of competence Materials, Furniture and Design
Wood and Surface Treatments
We work on solutions for surface treatment and we modify wood for the indoors and the outdoors. Wood anatomy and physical analyses are additional focal points of our work. Furthermore, our applied research looks at ways to develop and optimise new material technologies, coatings, and processes. For example, we developed self-cleaning coatings, UV protection systems for wooden curtain walls, and UV technology to dry coatings. Our basic research efforts are attempting to use biological ingredients to modify wood and thus provide ways to ecologically protect wood.
Area of competence Wood and Surface Treatments
Wood and Construction Adhesives
We develop and optimise synthetic and natural adhesives for load-bearing and non-load-bearing applications. Important focal points include the substitution of synthetic raw materials with natural polymers, developing low-emission adhesives, and defining the chemical and mechanical characteristics of adhesives. Thanks to our modern laboratory infrastructure, we are in a position to characterise the hardening process of adhesives and to investigate their adhesive and cohesive characteristics. Also, our portfolio of projects includes innovative connection technologies. For example, we have developed linear friction welding of wood, an innovative connection technology without adhesives.
Area of competence Wood and Construction Adhesives
Materials and Wood Chemistry
We have a well-equipped chemistry laboratory for carrying out projects with an analytical and preparative orientation. The laboratory contains instruments for spectroscopy, equipment for analytical separation processes, devices for various physical and chemical measurements, and enables us to carry out and observe reactions under high pressure. Furthermore, we conduct analytical research, the characterisation of organic materials, the derivatisation of organically-based substances, the modification and functionalisation of surfaces, and the analysis and application of nanoparticles. We also specialise on developing LED UV and polymer systems for blue-light hardening that can be used in various applications.
Area of competence Materials and Wood Chemistry
Material Emissions and Extractives
We focus on the characterisation, the development, and the application of low-emission and odor-free materials and furnishings, as well as on the resulting indoor air quality from the building construction processes. We also work on thermal insulation and on the characterisation of extractives from renewable materials and their uses. Furthermore, we develop procedures for removing biocides applied to cultural assets in the 20th century. Such biocides have been found to be damaging to both health and property.
Area of competence Materials Emissions and Extractives