"HygroShape" makes it possible
Bonn/Stuttgart. Imagine buying a flat-packed piece of wooden furniture, removing the wrapping, and after some time the package deforms by itself into a comfortable chair or table. This is made possible by the innovative HygroShape concept developed by Dr.-Ing. Dylan Wood, Laura Kiesewetter and Prof. Achim Menges and other scientists at the University of Stuttgart in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research ("Empa"/Switzerland) and ETH Zurich respectively.
Wooden furniture that assembles itself
In the HygroShape concept, fresh wood veneer is glued together in layers of varying thickness. The individual layers are rotated at 0 degrees and 90 degrees to the grain direction of the wood. The resulting so-called "bilayer", i.e. the "double layer", bends due to resistance both in the direction of the fibers and transversely due to drying and the associated shrinkage. The trick: Depending on the thickness of the wood element, its annual ring arrangement, the layer structure and its moisture content, the desired curvature can be determined in advance on the computer. The wood is given as much moisture as it is to bend predictably later as a result of drying and buildup. One possible result after unpacking: a comfortable and stable chair or an ergonomic lounge lounger with a rocking function. So far, there are a few working prototypes, the patent on the technology is pending, and partners are being sought for small-scale series production. "This innovative concept opens up completely new possibilities for furniture design. Great shapes can be unfolded without much stress, and with an excellent eco-balance. This is another great example of the numerous, sustainable application possibilities of wood," says Ursula Geismann, a long-time living analyst and managing director of the Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN), about the practical new development for living or working. (DS)
Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN)
The Initiative Veneer + Nature (IFN) e.V. was founded in 1996 by the German veneer industry and its partners. Today it is supported by European companies from the veneer industry, the trade and the veneer processing industry as well as trade associations of the wood industry. The aim of the association is to promote veneer as a natural all-round material.
Further information on the subject of veneer
Image 1: Stages of the self-forming process: air drying shapes the flat, compact configuration into the stable, curved geometry of a comfortable chair. Photo: University of Stuttgart / ICD, Robert Faulkner.
Image 2: After the self-forming process, the unique chair is cozy and comfortable to sit on. Photo: University of Stuttgart / ICD, Robert Faulkner.
Image 3: Prototype of a self-formed chaise longue. Photo: University of Stuttgart / ICD, Robert Faulkner.
Image 4: Close-up view of the chair. Photo: University of Stuttgart / ICD, Robert Faulkner.
August 1, 2022