Lech Muszynski

New guest professor to focus on cross-laminated timber research

Lech Muszynski will combine methods for monitoring the environmental exposures on full-scale structures with knowledge from small-scale lab experiments to improve the design and construction practices of tall wood buildings.

From 1 September 2018 and a year ahead, Lech Muszynski, professor at Oregon State University in the USA, holds a position as guest professor in building technology with specialization in cross-laminated timber (CLT) at Linnaeus University. Lech looks forward to his new position with excitement.

"Linnaeus University has a considerable reputation in the mass-timber research and engineering world. I also have the honour to count some unbelievably talented current and past staff at the university among my personal friends. It is bound to be a very rich adventure. And there are lakes! How could one not be excited?"

Improve the design and construction of tall wood buildings

At Linnaeus University, Lech Muszynski will focus mainly on the long-term behaviour of mass-timber structures subjected to cyclic environmental changes. It is well-known that these structures are often exposed to excessive wetting during construction, that persistent presence of elevated moisture levels in wood elements may trigger biodegradation, and that passage of time and repeated moisture content changes in wood may trigger additional deformations. However, the comprehensive impact of these factors on the long-term durability of tall CLT structures is not fully understood – in part because there is not many such buildings around and all of them are relatively new.

"The planned collaborative research will focus on designing efficient ways of monitoring the short- and medium-term effects of the environmental exposures on actual full-scale CLT structures. Then we will try to combine these measurements with what we know about wood behaviour from small-scale lab experiments to build models allowing the prediction of behaviour of buildings on a long-time scale. This knowledge will assist in improving the design and construction practices of tall wood buildings", says Lech.

There are also other exciting areas of collaboration that Lech is eager to explore, for instance developing curricula for new courses in building technology and the possibilities to create a long-term collaboration with the Oregon State University in the USA.

Theoretical modelling and applied research

Lech's research has been divided between fundamental problems in characterisation of complex bio-based materials, and applied research in service of break-through technologies that allow utilization of renewable materials in value-added products.

"My fundamental research is aimed at better understanding the physical mechanisms underlying performance and durability of composite materials, correlations between complex morphological structures and properties, load transfer between components, as well as reliable modelling based on this understanding", says Lech.

Lech's applied research is focused on utilization of low value/low grade wood and woody biomass in value-added, advanced products. Since 2010, this effort has been focused on the potential outlet for such material in cross-laminated timber (CLT), a massive timber product enabling revolutionary building technologies and construction of tall wood buildings. Lech's interest in practical application areas of his research also involves e.g. assisting the company DR Johnson Lumber in Riddle, Oregon in launching the first structural CLT production line in the USA in 2015.