Characterisation of material parameters as basis for innovative processing methods and products made of large dimensioned wood aiming at economically sustainable use of Austrian timber resources "XXL-Wood"

Facing the problem of decreasing demand for large dimensioned timber, investigations are carried out concerning certain properties like strength and fibre characteristics. Due to the data it is possible to create a model about the variability of special properties of a stem. Based on the model new concepts for optimised processing and products will be developed.

Short Description




Initial situation

Austria's forestry is facing severe problems with appropriate markets for large dimensioned wood which is mainly available in mountainous regions. Large diameter timber (> 40 cm) is not suitable for high speed processing. Furthermore it is not a uniform product; it shows a high range of different properties within the stem. As a matter of fact large dimensioned timber is not corresponding with actual market needs, not only because of insufficient knowledge of its specific wood properties.

As a consequence a decrease of sales or reduced prices affects the economic development of mountainous regions. Forest management in mountain areas is always related to higher expenses for silviculture measures, maintaining infrastructure or harvesting because of geomorphologic reasons. Finding new market and processing methods or products of large dimensioned wood can only guarantee an economical and ecological sustainable forestry in these areas.

Contents, aims and methods

This project is aiming to increase the competitiveness of large dimensioned wood both on the national and the international market. In order to develop value added products in efficient processes the main objective is to clearly identify the special raw material properties of large dimensioned wood by using innovative technology for testing, measurement and modelling. Wood processing methods can be adapted to the special properties of mountain wood. Based on the newly derived knowledge about special wood properties innovative and engineered products could be developed in consideration of market requirements and high ecological and technical quality standards. Big emphasis is put on the fact that the whole forest-wood-chain - from raw material to end product - is included into the considerations.

The specimens (logs of Norway spruce) were gained in different regions in Austria following certain conditions concerning the standings like altitude, exposition and round wood quality.

After processing the logs into boards chosen stem segments and the boards were examined concerning their quality by special means of non-destructive testing and imaging. Afterwards the boards are used for large scale strength testing.

Selected specimens were prepared for microscopic analyses such as fibre length, microfibril angle, cell wall thickness as well as macroscopic investigations concerning density or spiral grain. Additionally strength tests were carried out using small clear specimens.

All gained data were brought into relationship with their position within the stem in order to create a model. This model of large dimensioned stems shall help to locate defined areas of special wood properties. Based on this innovative and property-optimised processing methods should be developed heading towards products which can benefit from specific properties, for instance long fibres or high strength. These fist steps of product development were supported by a special technique which helps to find strategies for a customer oriented and sustainable production management.

Results and prospect

The gained data - both on macroscopic and microscopic scale - show a high variety within each examined parameter. Obvious is the distinctive difference between juvenile and adult wood. Although most parameters show an increase in the adult areas accompanied by for instance higher strength of longer fibres, the wood industry can't benefit from these properties directly. The parallel increase in knot diameter deteriorates the benefits of improved fibre properties. Therefore there is more need for research and development on industrial scale in order to find out appropriate techniques and processing methods for a raw material, which shows high potential per se.

Project Partners

Project management

Univ.Prof. DI Dr. Alfred Teischinger
Institut für Holzforschung - ihf (BOKU Wien)
Peter-Jordan-Straße 82, 1190 Wien

Project or cooperation partner

  • Institut für Stahlbau,
    Holzbau und Flächentragwerke/ LIGNUM


  • TU Graz, Erzherzog-Johann Universität
  • Institut für Konstruktionslehre und Fördertechnik - Technische Universität Wien
  • Hauptverband der Land- und Forstwirtschaftsbetriebe Österreichs
  • Schaffer Sägewerk - Holzexport GmbH
  • Holzcluster Steiermark GmbH
  • Bundeswaldbauernverband - BWV

Contact Address

DI Dr. Margareta Patzelt
Institut für Holzforschung - ihf (BOKU Wien)
Peter-Jordan-Straße 82, 1190 Wien
Tel.: 01 - 47654 - 4253
Fax: 01 - 47654 - 4295