The long term objective of the WOODLIFE project was to provide coated and glued wood products with substantially improved durability for a more sustainable society. The project aimed to develop new water-based clear coating systems for wood with improved UV-absorbing properties, and to develop new water-based thermoplastic wood adhesives with improved mechanical properties. The new coating and adhesive systems would be designed through molecular manufacturing of inorganic nanoparticles, nanoclays and composite organic-inorganic binders with predictable and controllable properties.

Wood is an excellent building material with a high strength/density ratio and it is a renewable resource. For outdoor use it is, however, necessary to enhance the durability of wood materials due to the high sensitivity for UV degradation. Traditionally, organic UV-absorbers are used in clear coatings for wood, however these substances degrade upon outdoor weathering. New UV-absorbing systems for clear coats will be developed in the project based on nanoparticles of CeO2, ZnO and TiO2. With these new systems the service-life of the coated wood will be extended and the cost for maintenance and wood replacement will be decreased.

If the mechanical properties of water-based thermoplastic wood adhesives such as PVAc can be improved it would be possible to use the wood products based on these systems for a longer time, leading to a more sustainable society. It would also be possible to use PVAc adhesives instead of the more expensive MUF/PRF adhesives in some load-bearing applications. Engineered nanoparticles will be developed in the project and will be introduced into wood adhesives in order to improve the properties of wood-adhesive joints.

The nanoparticles and nanoclays that will be developed in the project will either be added directly to water-based systems or incorporated in hybrid binders in order to improve the dispersion of the nanoparticles and to improve storage stability.