Experimental and Computational Micro-Characterization Techniques in Wood Mechanics


Karin DE BORST | Research Institute

Profile | Curriculum Vitae | Research Institute


Vienna University of Technology was founded in 1815 as the Imperial-Royal Polytechnical Institute, it was the first University of Technology within present-day German-speaking countries. Today the university enjoys high international and domestic recognition in teaching as well as in research and is a highly esteemed partner of innovation-oriented enterprises. Profound expertise and the large pool of specialists engaged in teaching, research and active as partners in business and commerce, make interaction among disciplines a prerequisite for maintaining TUV's position as one of the best on the international scene.

The research work at the Institute for Mechanics of Materials and Structures is characterized by a synthesis of experimental investigation and numerical modelling of the mechanical behavior of materials at different length scales, and by the application of the developed constitutive models to structural analysis.

Current research projects include among others

  • nano-to-macro mechanics of biological materials (bone, wood, skin),
  • prediction of macroscopic mechanical properties of wood from microstructure and chemical composition,
  • multi-scale prediction of creep and shrinkage properties of cement-based materials,
  • transport processes in concrete at high temperatures,
  • soil mechanics,
  • performance-oriented optimisation of asphalt,
  • postbuckling behavior of shells.

The Institute runs two laboratories, the Laboratory for Macroscopic Material Testing and the Laboratory for Micro- and Nanomechanics of Biological and Biomimetical Materials.


The Laboratory for Macroscopic Material Testing is equipped with 

  • a uniaxial electro-mechanic universal testing machine,
  • a biaxial servo-hydraulic testing machine, 
  • a triaxial servo-hydraulic testing machine, 
  • a creep test facility for long-term creep tests of cement-based materials,
  • a permeability testing machine for the determination of the permeability of concrete, cement paste, and other porous media,
  • a Linear Friction Tester,
  • a 3D Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry,
  • a biaxial testing machine for membrane stresses,
  • a heat-flux differential calorimetry, and
  • a climate chamber.


The Laboratory for Micro- and Nanomechanics of Biological and Biomimetical Materials is equipped with a preparation and a testing room. The preparation room is devoted to the storage and preparation of biological and other samples. It includes a separate room for cell or tissue culture work, a fume hood, a dissection table, 14 meters of bench space and a central modular working space. Equipment in the testing room:

  • a MTS 858 MiniBionix - a hydraulic axial and torsional testing system that is able to run static and dynamic tests on biomaterials up to 15 kN and 150 Nm,
  • a XE-100® scanning probe microscope (SPM) – a powerful instrument for nano-meter scale imaging of sample surfaces,
  • a Nano Hardness Tester® - a high precision instrument for the determination of the nano mechanical properties of thin films, coatings and substrates,
  • a TriboIndenter® - an ultra-low load nanomechanical test system designed to measure the nanomechanical properties of thin films and material surfaces, and
  • an ultrasonic measurement system.