This is WURC

Last changed: 08 October 2020

Scientific and industrial background

Research at WURC is concentrated on the morphological structure of wood and wood fibre in the range from approximately 500 nm to less than 1 nm (i.e. close to atomic and molecular bonding distance) and on the chemical structure and physical properties associated with fibre components. WURC also studies how structures and properties change when wood fibres are treated in various ways mechanically, chemically and enzymatically.

WURC shall:
  • Provide an inventive and stimulating environment for high quality research and postgraduate education.
  • Create a research environment where companies within the forest industry actively participate.
  • Furnish industry with competent researchers.
  • Become an internationally recognized research unit which attracts foreign researchers.
  • Promote interdisciplinary research.
The research within WURC shall:
  • Significantly increase the basic knowledge of wood and wood fibres as regards their chemistry and morphology.
  • Study and establish the effects of chemical, mechanical and enzymatic treatments on the ultrastructure and the influence of such effects on wood fibre properties.
  • Be based on co-operation between universities, industrial research institutes and forest industry companies.
  • Build up and maintain a source of knowledge to support further research and development in the Swedish forest industry, e.g. research of a more applied nature.
  • Contribute to the development of new industrial processes, new fibre-based materials and new consumer products.

Major objective

The major objective of WURC is to significantly improve the understanding of the morphological and chemical ultrastructure and the physical interaction between the polymers of the wood fibre as o basis for industrial utilization.

Work to WURC is focused on basic research of industrial relevance. The field of work is wood and wood fibres. The task of WURC is to conduct the kind of research that the industrial partners cannot conduct themselves. The results of the research will be used in further research and development by the industrial partners and by applied research units carrying out research along the processing chain. The new knowledge created by WURC will support thedevelopment of resource-efficient products fulfilling the market demands

Scientific and industrial background

The ultrastructure of the wood fibre plays a central role in the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of wood and wood fibres, and thereby also influences the properties of products manufactured from wood. The ultrastructure determines fibre strength when producing pulp, the processability when producing paper and in the end, paper quality. Further, industrial production processes influence the ultrastructure and the properties of wood fibres. A number of energy requiring processes is used in the industrial chain from tree to paper. Their efficiency is ultimately related to the ultra structure of wood.

Despite the importance of wood fibres, the knowledge of fibre ultrastructure is far from sufficient and must be improved. Obtaining such knowledge is part of a strategy to keep Swedish industry abreast of competition. To be able to develop new products, renew the production processes and optimally utilize the industrial potential of wood fibres produced in Swedish forests requires new ideas on how modifications can be made at the ultrastructural level.

Rapid development in molecular biology, microscopy and spectroscopy has brought forth techniques that make it possible to study the basic building elements of the wood fibre and how they are influenced by external factors such as chemicals, enzymes and mechanical actions. Intensive research is also in progress on the biosynthesis of plant cell walls and interaction between the different polymers in the cell wall. These developments will help WURC to reach its goals.