DI Franz Neumüller (Ext. -841, Email)
This specialized division “Wood-based panels / WPC” focuses not only Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs) but also on well established and newly developed panel-shaped composites (particleboard, fibreboard, OSB, plywood, solid wood panels etc.). Whereas wood-based panels are used in dry, humid and exterior conditions as structural and non-structural elements, WPCs are currently mainly used as non-structural components in exterior applications (deck-boards, siding and railing). However the field of applications for WPCs is growing rapidly.
A reduction of formaldehyde and VOC emissions from wood-based composites is sought by modifying material components and process parameters.
The performance of façades designed with wood-based panels and wood-plastic composites over long-term exposure to natural weathering is being investigated and evaluated. Completely new approaches are being developed along with possible ways of optimisation.
This research focuses on the durability of WPC-products (deckings) over long-term exposure to natural weathering. A particular emphasis is placed on the retention of mechanical properties.
Bonding techniques for joining WPCs and for gluing WPC-components to other materials are being tested and investigated.
In this specialized division, tests are being performed in accordance with the respective national and European standard for the determination of physical properties (density, moisture content), mechanical properties (strength and stiffness under bending, compression, tension or shear loading, hardness, fastener withdrawal strength) and surface properties (scratch resistance, resistance against staining, etc.). In cooperation with other specialized divisions at Holzforschung Austria, tests are carried out to determine the emission potential or the emission characteristics (formaldehyde-release, emission of volatile organic compounds) as well as the durability of wood-based composites (resistance again weathering and biological attack). Furthermore tests based on ASTM, JIS, JAS or company standards can be provided upon request. Plant audits at the manufacturing site of wood-based panels or WPCs are the first essential part of the inspection work and include the review of the processes and documentation pertaining to the production and to the factory production control. During plant audits, samples are taken at random for verifying tests in the laboratories of Holzforschung Austria. These tests constitute the second essential part of the inspection work.
In accordance with the European construction products directive, wood-based panels which are incorporated into buildings in a permanent manner, have to be CE-marked on the basis of the harmonized European standard EN 13986. Holzforschung Austria together with its sister organization “Holzcert Austria“ supports and assists manufacturers in the process of obtaining the CE mark by providing initial and ongoing regular inspections.
When damages or claims resulting from the application of wood-based panels or WPCs are brought forward expert’s reports can help by determining the scope, possible cause and remedy of the relevant damage. The expert’s reports are based on facts collected on-site and on the standardised laboratory tests performed. These tests compare properties and applications of the material under investigation with the requirements in relevant normative documents.