Seminar-Recent advances in use of lignocellulosic materials in structures – hybrid materials and systems

Date and Time: 25 January 2018, 11:30 am

Venue: at C1 Theatre, Level 4 at Engineering Block C (Building No. 174), Parkville, The University of Melbourne


Plant-based (lignocellulosic) materials have been traditionally used in textile industry, production of paper, fiber-based nonstructural composites and production of chemicals.  In structural applications, only few lignocellulosic materials such as wood or bamboo have been accepted. In recent years, however, various new products and applications have been introduced using short natural fibers or spun long fibers to enhance the properties of concrete or plastics.  High-strength endless synthetic fibers can be combined with natural fibers or structural timber to achieve interesting properties such as higher ductility.  Moreover, the lignocellulosic fibers have positive environmental impact and are relatively inexpensive. This presentation will introduce the work done by Fraunhofer WKI focused on the development of new hybrid materials and components for automotive and building applications.  Examples will include impact of timber beams, hybrid textile reinforcement of concrete, natural-fiber reinforced concrete as well as newly developed wood foam for insulation and hybrid textiles for automotive applications.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bohumil Kasal

Prof. Kasal is Director of Fraunhofer Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI in Braunschweig, Germany.  The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, with over 24,000 employees and over 60 institutes, is the largest applied research organization in the world.  He also concurrently holds a Chair in Organic and Wood-based Construction Materials at Technische Universitaet Braunschweig in Germany.  He holds an Ing. degree from the University of Zvolen, Slovakia, postgraduate degrees from Virginia Tech and Oregon State University in the USA. Kasal has received a number of awards, and was a Senior US Fulbright Fellow in Germany.
From 2005-2010, Prof. Kasal was the Hankin Chair and Professor of Civil Engineering and Architectural Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, and the Director of the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center.  Prior to this, he was a Professor at the North Carolina State University.  He authored over 200 papers and research reports, serves on the editorial board of Journal of Materials and Structures, Wood Science Journal, Acta Facultatis Xylologiae Zvolen, chairs RILEM committee on in-situ evaluation of timber structures and actively participates in national and international professional organizations. Some of his research have been covered by various media outlets including CNN, NBC and ABC networks.