Past projects

Past projects

Assesswoodcoat: Performance assessment of coating systems for exterior wooden joinery

Optiwoodcoat: Optimalisation of service life, maintenance and certification of future-oriented exterior wooden joinery by durable use of water based coating systems.

Contact: Imke De Windt

Outdoor exposure of window frames

Both consecutive projects aimed at establishing an assessment methodology for wood coating systems with focus on setting requirements for an adequate performance.

The developed assessment methodology is based on the European (pre)standards for exterior wooden joinery coatings taking into account physicochemical weathering, moisture dynamics and biological aspects. For each single test minimal requirements for a sound wood coating system are defined. However, to predict the performance of a coating system for exterior joinery during natural weathering a combination of these requirements is used.

Based on the criteria developed in the project a model to certify finished wooden joinery has been drafted.

Cultivation and processing of flax as a basis for a bio based economy in Flanders

Contact: Nele Defoirdt

Cultivation and processing of flax

Flax is used for fibre and oil applications, but the different sectors are not involved in each other’s activities.

This project consulted flax growers, the various users, researchers and literature to make a state of the art of the knowledge of the flax plant and cultivation and the common and potential future uses.

A gap analysis reveals to what extent the present knowledge and technology can meet the needs and questions from the flax sectors. Interfaces between the two sectors and common objectives will be used to prepare research towards the cultivation of a flax plant that can be optimally exploited.


Biodegradability of wood polymer composites

Contact: Nele Defoirdt

Biodegradability of wood polymer composites

In contrast with outdated statement that wood particles in WPC are completely encapsulated and inaccessible, moisture sorption of and even fungal growth on WPC is often demonstrated.

As standards for fungal testing of this material refers to standards developed for wood based panels, the moisture behaviour of WPC was compared to that of wood based panels.

Moisture sorption of WPC is significantly slower, but reaches after levels of moisture content all above the minimum level for fungal growth. This study indicated that a specific standard for testing biodegradability of natural fibre composites must be developed, taking this alternative moisture behaviour into account.


Advanced composites based on modified natural fibres - Accessibility and reactivity of natural fibres for materials with improved mechanical and physical performance

Contact: Nele Defoirdt

Advanced composites based on modified natural fibres

Poor fibre/matrix adhesion is an obstacle for high performance natural fibre composites. Several fibre treatments were tested with flax and treated flax being processed into epoxy or polypropylene composites.

The effect of the treatments was visualised by SEM and micro-CT images of fibres and broken composites. Three point bending tests and pull out tests were used to assess the strength properties of the resulting composites.

Concerning durability, the moisture dynamics of the treated fibres and the dynamical stability of the composites were determined, as well as the biological durability of treated fibres and its composites.