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The University of Primorska Tests Wood as a Building Material with the Kappa Multistation from ZwickRoell

Researchers at the University of Primorska and InnoRenew Center of Excellence in Slovenia are dedicated to conducting research related to renewable building materials - in particular wood - and have chosen a testing system from ZwickRoell funded by the European Commission and the Republic of Slovenia. The Kappa Multistation high-precision electromechanical creep testing machine provides optimal temperature and humidity control with an integrated climatic chamber.

The University of Primorska is the third largest public university in Slovenia and has graduate level study programmes and a research group focused on composites and sustainable building materials, primarily wood. As a dynamic material, wood not only presents challenges for civil engineers, but also in research and development. The University of Primorska engages in the analysis of natural wood, chemically modified wood, densified wood, wood-plastics, and fiber-reinforced composites.

In order to analyze wood products, it is important to understand the long-term loading and unloading behavior of the material. At the same time, humidity and temperature must be accurately controlled. The appropriate environmental conditions are achieved with use of a climatic chamber. Wood specimens can be examined between temperatures of +20°C to +90°C and relative humidity of 20% to 90%. The climatic chamber also makes it possible to test without humidity control in a temperature range of -30°C to +180°C.

The Kappa Multistation features five individual load axes, each equipped with a 10 kN load cell. By means of easily convertible test arrangements, tensile, compression and 3-point flexure tests can be performed on five specimens simultaneously and controlled independently of each other. The precise measurement of specimen deformation is contactless for each load axis. The Video extensometer can be used with a humid test environment, since it measures from the outside through a glass pane on the back wall of the chamber, in accuracy class 1 to ISO 9513.

Dr. Matthew Schwarzkopf, Associate Professor at the University of Primorska, is impressed with the flexibility offered by this compact, high-precision testing system and affirms that the Kappa Multistation has optimally met the Institute’s testing requirements.