Wood foam

Energy and Resource Efficiency − Efficient. Environmentally Friendly. Sustainable

Wood foam - from tree to foam

© Fraunhofer WKI, Manuela Lingnau
This wood foamed board is an entirely natural product made from sustainable raw materials.

As part of an internal pre-research project, the Fraunhofer WKI has developed innovative methods which enable the production of foams from pure wood. These wood foams are a new class of wood-based materials. They are suitable for a hugely diverse variety of applications, for example for packaging, as lightweight boards or as insulating material. As packaging, the wood foam can be easily and environmentally-friendly disposed of by the consumer via waste paper recycling.  As lightweight middle layers in sandwich boards for furniture, doors or in complete wall elements (typically in trade fair and stage construction for example) wood foams are promising candidates.

Wood foams are light wood-based materials (40 - 280 kg/m³) with an open-pore texture made up of finely ground wood. They take their strength from the wood’s own binding characteristics and therefore do not need any synthetic adhesives. This means that the foams consist completely of renewable material.

At the Fraunhofer WKI, the latest methods are being developed by means of which pressure-resistant foams from lignocellulose can be produced specifically with regard to their pore structure. For the starting material, both deciduous and coniferous wood are suitable. As the wood is finely ground, wood from forest thinning as well as sawmill by-products can also be used as raw materials; even the use of non-wood-containing lignocelluloses, such as hemp or straw, is possible.