Thomas Bader presenting his research

Bader’s research helps constructors design the wood buildings of the future

Thomas Bader is new professor of building technology at Linnaeus University. His research combines development of models on the computer with practical experiments in the lab. The aim is to achieve optimal utilisation of wood’s good properties and to increase the competitiveness of wood constructions in relation to other materials.

Wood as material in buildings and other constructions has many advantages. Notably, wood is the only renewable construction material. What is more, other materials like concrete, brick, and steel require a lot of energy in the production and generate higher emissions of carbon dioxide. Thus, it is not very surprising that the interest for constructing in wood has increased rapidly during the last few years.

At Linnaeus University, prominent research is being carried out on a number of different aspects of building technology, with focus on wood. One of the researchers is Thomas Bader, head of department at the Department of Building Technology and newly-appointed professor of building technology.

“My research is a combination of experiments in the lab and development of computer models. The aim is to develop calculation models that constructors can use to design the wood buildings of the future. Focus is on increasing the reliability of the calculations and in that way increasing the competitiveness of wood constructions”, says Bader.

Calculate the behaviour of wood constructions

The computer models that Bader is developing are meant to calculate the behaviour of construction elements and buildings constructions of wood. An important element in constructions are so-called joint constructions, which are necessary in order to, for instance, connect beams with pillars in a cost-efficient and secure way.

“During the last few years, I have developed models and carried out experimental trials in order to be able to predict with reliability the mechanical properties of joints with, for instance, nails, screws, or dowels in wood constructions. In addition, I carry out research on cross-laminated timber which is a new type of construction material that brings with it new techniques for constructing in wood”, Bader explains.

Plywood in larger scale

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is like plywood in a larger scale – at least three layers of massive wood boards with a thickness of between 12 and 45 mm. This spring, the research group Wood Building Technology was granted funds for a new project that will increase the competitiveness of larger construction systems based on CLT.

“In interplay with the construction industry and Växjö municipality, we will continue to develop this new construction material, as well as joint and detail solutions. We will also monitor constructions during the construction period until the day when they are taken into use and combine construction technology with methods that analyse the building’s energy-consumption over its entire lifetime”, Bader continues.

As for Bader’s research on joints, he is currently working on the project ForestValue Hardwood joint together with colleagues from France, Austria, and Germany to develop an economic, reliable, and innovative technology for constructions of hardwood. In the future, he is also planning to combine wood with other construction materials in order to enable optimal utilisation of wood’s properties.

Exciting interplay

Thomas Bader comes from Austria and has an associate professorship in mechanics of materials and structures from TU Vienna. He started working at Linnaeus University in 2015 and was appointed head of department in 2018. As professor, Bader looks forward to continue to contribute with his research in wood building technology to Linnaeus University’s important competence within sustainable community-building.

“The most exciting part is to get the opportunity to work in interplay with actors from the industry, municipality, and the academy so that we can create the sustainable buildings of the future together”, Bader concludes.