Wood-Metal Hybrid for Lightweight Construction

Image Credit: Fraunhofer WKISustainability is key when developing new materials for the construction industry. Wood is the perfect source material because it is a renewable resource and has the ability to be recycled at the end of its service life.  Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research are developing wood foams made entirely of wood.

During the course of the project, researchers developed a wood-metal foam hybrid that has the properties of both wood foam and metal sponge. The resulting product offers excellent insulating properties and has a low bending strength.

According to lead researcher Dr. Frauke Bunzel from Fraunhofer WKI, “The outstanding properties of wood foam are its high levels of sound absorption and low thermal conductivity, making it an excellent insulation material. Combining metal sponge and wood foam creates a lightweight hybrid material with a higher functionality, one that can be used for components that provide reinforcement and absorb sound.”

The group hopes to get the wood-metal hybrid to industrial production soon. As new materials come to market, construction contractors will need to adapt their building processes to make use of materials that are lighter, stronger and more sustainable.

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Image Credit: Fraunhofer WKI

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