At present, wood is mainly used as a decorative element, for example in luxury cars, emphasized the general manager of Holzcluster Styria GmbH, Erhard Pretterhofer, on the sidelines of the Alpbach technology talks. Among others, Styrian technology projects from the "Innoregio Styria" platform were presented.
Project partner from industry and science
According to the research team of "WoodC.A.R." (For Wood Computer Aided Research), however, wood should be extensively used in vehicles of ten to fifteen years as a material for structural components. The research project has been working at the Weiz Innovation Center for a year and a half – more in Weizer researchers test timber in vehicle construction (15.3.2017).
The consortium has a broad base: in addition to companies such as the parquet manufacturer Weitzer Parkett or Magna Steyr, partners from the scientific field, such as the Technical University of Graz or the University of Natural Resources and applied life sciences in Vienna, are also part of the project. The project partners of the research project, which is coordinated by the Weiz district in East Styria, are currently working on computer simulations to virtually imitate the use of wood.
High stability and favorable price
The research is currently aimed at getting to know the material well, so that the behavior of the material can be predicted as it is already the case with metal or composites. Especially the low weight combined with high stability speaks for wood in the car – and the material would also be relatively cheap, according to Gerhard Krachler of Magna Steyr. Climate-friendly measures are also becoming increasingly important in the production of vehicles.
According to Pretterhofer, particularly suitable wood species are, for example, deciduous trees that can be formed in several layers. The material is also becoming increasingly relevant to the industry. The German manufacturer of Tyrolean vehicles, Mattro, wants to use wood next year for a new electric snowmobile, says general manager Alois Bauer. This can save both production costs and vehicle weight.