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Magnus Wålinder

Profilbild av Magnus Wålinder



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Om mig

1. Professional experience

  • Since June 1, 2011: Professor in Building materials at KTH, Dept. of Civil and Architectural Engineering; Head of the Building materials research group, in March 2020 comprising: 18 persons of which 6 are senior scientists and teachers (ca 3.5 person years), 1 postdoc (full time), and 11 are PhD students (3 employed, 2 CSC stipends, and 6 in industry)
  • 2019 to 2020, Vice Head of department
  • Circa 20 years’ experience of wood technology and wood material research and development (R&D)
  • 2006–2011 Centre Manager of EcoBuild Institute Excellence Centre, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Wood Technology
  • 2004–2006 Head of the R&D group Materials and Products, SP Wood Technology
  • 2002–2006 Researcher and project leader, Trätek and SP Wood Technology
  • 2002–2015  Split position between SP and KTH (ca 80/20)
  • Worked for two years (2000–2002) as postdoctoral research associate at University of Maine, Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Centre (AEWC), Maine, USA
  • Editor-in-Chief between 2005 and 2009 and since 2009 Co-Editor, for the scientific journal Wood Material Science and Engineering

2. Academic Degrees: Senior Lecturer (Docent) in Wood and Wood Composites, KTH, 2009; PhD in Wood Technology and Processing, KTH, 2000; Licentiate of Engineering degree (Lic.Eng.) in Wood Technology and Processing, KTH 1996; and Master of Science degree (M.Sc.) in mechanical engineering, KTH 1992.

3. Main research interests: Biobased building materials; wood technology and wood material R&D involving mainly: wood and wood composites material science with a focus on adhesion science and technology, surface science and surface chemistry, wetting phenomena (liquid sorption), gas adsorption/sorption on wood/lignocellulosics and polymers, micromorhology and moisture sorption related to biobased building materials, development of eco-efficient and durability modified wood, wood protection, and wood plastic composites (WPCs). The overall purpose of my research is to support the development of future biobased building materials made from renewable resources. The main challenges for biobased building materials concern their susceptibility for moisture sorption and biological degradation. More efficient manufacturing processes must also be developed to meet the tough competition in the building materials sector.

4. National and international networking: Member of several national, international and European working groups and collaborative forum related to my research field: COST FPS DC Expert, COST FP 1006, SWST, and WSE Northern Euroepean Network in Wood Material Science and Engineering (national coordinator).

5. Scientific publications and merits: Has contributed to ca 40 papers in peer reviewed journals or books; 3 editor assignments; and circa 50 papers in proceedings of international conferences, see Google scholar profile here  , see also a compilation of my publications in the DIVA database under the heading Publications (in the right margin at the upper part of this page).

See the following selected open access publications:

Källbom, S., Lillqvist, K., Spoljaric, S., Seppälä, J.,  Segerholm, K., Rautkari, L. (2020). Effects of Water Soaking–drying Cycles on Thermally Modified Spruce Wood–plastic Composites. Wood and Fiber Science 52 (1), 2-12. https://wfs.swst.org/index.php/wfs/article/viewFile/2761/2561

Sjökvist, T., Blom, Å., Wålinder, M. (2019). The infuence of heartwood, sapwood and density on moisture fuctuations and crack formations of coated Norway spruce in outdoor exposure. Journal of Wood Science 65(45). https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s10086-019-1825-1.pdf

Källbom S., Altgen, M. Militz, H. Wålinder, M. (2018). Sorption and surface energy properties of thermally modified spruce wood components. Wood and Fiber Science 50(3): 346–357. https://wfs.swst.org/index.php/wfs/article/viewFile/2738/2500

Larsson, M., Wålinder, M. and Falk, A. (2018). Teleodynamic Timber Façades. Frontiers in Built Environment 4(37): 1–16, doi: 10.3389/fbuil.2018.00037. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbuil.2018.00037/full

Peñaloza, D. Erlandsson, M., Berlin, J., Wålinder, M. (2018). Future scenarios for climate mitigation of new construction in Sweden : Effects of different technological pathways. Journal of Cleaner Production 187: 1025–1035, doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.03.285. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652618309661?via%3Dihub

Sjökvist, T., Wålinder, M.E.P. and Blom, Å. (2018). Liquid sorption characterisation of Norway spruce heartwood and sapwood using a muiticycle Wilhelmy plate method. International Wood Products Journal 9(2): 58–65, doi.org/10.1080/20426445.2018.1467602. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20426445.2018.1467602

Sedighi Moghaddam, M., Van den Bulcke, J., Wålinder, M.E.P., Claesson, P.M., Van Acker, J., Swerin, A. (2017). Microstructure of chemically modified wood using X-ray computed tomography in relation to wetting properties.. ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: 10.1515/hf-2015-0227, October 2016. Holzforschung 71(2): 119–128. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/hfsg/71/2/article-p119.xml

Sedighi Moghaddam, M., Heydari, G., Tuominen, M., Fielden, M., Haapanen, J., Mäkelä, J.M., Wålinder, M.E.P., Claesson, P.M., Swerin, A. (2016). Hydrophobisation of wood surfaces by combining liquid flame spray (LFS) and plasma treatment: dynamic wetting properties. Holzforschung 70(6), 527–537. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/hfsg/70/6/article-p527.xml

Sedighi Moghaddam, M., Wålinder, M.E.P., Claesson, P.M. and Swerin, A. (2016). Wettability and swelling of acetylated and furfurylated wood analyzed by multicycle Wilhelmy plate method. Holzforschung 70(1). Published Online: 02/26/2015. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/hfsg/70/1/article-p69.xml

6. Awards: 2013: L.J. Markwardt Wood Engineering Award www.forestprod.org/ic/markwardt_award.php)

7. See also my profile at ResearchGate

Some remarks on Biobased building material systems

There is an increasing interest in the building sector for new types of eco-efficient biobased building materials. The objective of our research group is to explore the field of engineered wood and biobased building material systems, primarily based on renewable forest biomass. The over-all aim is to support a sustainable development of the society.

Our motto, adopted from Rowell et al. (2010), is: To not use more today than can be replaced tomorrow. This is one of humanity's greatest challenges, not least in terms of the built environment and use of building materials. It is also crucial that heavily forested regions like Scandinavia, with a substantial net growth of the annual forest biomass, is a proactive driving force in this matter.

Examples of emerging and existing bio- or wood-based building materials of interest are so-called biocomposites or wood plastic composites (WPC) and durability-modified wood such as acetylated, furfurylated, thermally modified, and preservative-treated wood. Another potential category is engineered wood products (EWP), e.g. cross-laminated timber (CLT). In recent years there has also been a growing interest in the development of  timber-based hybrid systems and structures, i.e. composite action on a system level between e.g. wood-based materials and steel or concrete. Growing market segments for such biobased building material systems are multi-storey residential buildings as well as outdoor load-bearing structures.

The main shortcomings of bio- or wood-based building materials are related to the high variability of their engineering properties. The combined building products must also have an ability to function during a long time-span, e.g. be dimensionally stable under cyclic climate conditions, and satisfactory withstand mechanical abrasion, microbiological attack and UV radiation. Fire safety is also of great importance. In addition, they also often have to be aesthetically attractive.

Research and built up of competence are needed regarding the understanding of biobased building materials composition, microstructure and properties, and the link to their function and service life in different applications. One of the main challenges concerns the susceptibility for moisture sorption and biological degradation, i.e. the building materials must not be bio-degradable during their service life. After this, however, they should be suitable, either for recycling, for example by decomposition to new material building blocks, or for energy recovery. Efficient manufacturing processes must also be developed to meet the tough competition in the building materials sector.

Material refining and modification concepts based on e.g. combined thermal-hydro-mechanical treatments are possible means to ascertain a more predictable behavior of wood- or biobased materials. The micrograph below shows the typical complex micromorphology of a WPC, where the wood component has undergone a quite severe thermal-mechanical treatment.

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image showing an example of the complex micromorphology of a wood plastic composite (WPC) where light-grey parts represent wood cell structure, dark-grey parts represent a polyolefin matrix, and the darkest regions represent internal cracks or voids. The wood has in this case been subjected to thermal-mechanical modification resulting in a distinct densification effect of the earlywood tissue (see the mid-region of the micrograph).

Rowell, R.M., Caldeira, F. and Rowell, J.K. (eds.) (2010). Sustainable development in the forest products sector. Fernando Pessoa, Porto, 284 p. ISBN 978-989-643-052-8.

On-going and finalized research projects

  • BioInnovation, Outdoor Load-bearing Timber Structures (2017-20)
  • EnWoBio - Engineered Wood and Biobased Building Materials Laboratory (2015-19)
  • Thermal-hydro-mechanical (THM) modification of wood (2012-14)
  • Durability aspects of building materials
  • Wood or biobased composites as building materials
  • Surface characteristics of wood and wood-polymer compatibility


Project period: 2015-19. Main financing from the the Swedish Research Council Formas (no. 2014-172), co-financed by Träcentrum Norr (TCN), Träskyddsföreningen, Ofk Innovation, and RISE (former) SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden; IVL; and also supported by KTH Royal Institute of Technology and LTU Luleå Technical Unicersity.

See EnWoBio Final Report

Aim and objectives

The aim of this project and research platform is to conduct research with the highest international class to produce new knowledge that will contribute to the development of production, use and further refining of renewable forest or agricultural biomass. In particular, this is of a strategic relevance for the present and future biobased building materials industry in Sweden.

The over-all objective is to engineer innovative wood and biobased building materials for the future sustainable society

The specific objectives comprise the following interacting work packages (WP):

  1. New biocomposites: a new group of building materials refined from renewable resources based on wood or natural fibres and biopolymers or recyclable thermoplastics with a high potential regarding both eco-efficiency and increased moisture resistance and extended service life, also including load-bearing building material applications.
  2. New natural wood modification: new concepts based on combined mechanical-hydro-thermal procedure. Such modified wood is expected to exhibit higher surface hardness, abrasion resistance, dimensional stability as well as increased decay resistance compared with unmodified wood.
  3. Physico-chemical and moisture analysis of biobased building materials: Moisture sorption is a particular critical feature of biobased materials. Fungal decay resistance, dimensional stability, mechanical performance and insulating capacity of biobased materials are examples of other properties which are affected by moisture.
  4. Engineered wood products for the construction market: The contemporary construction market is facing new demands to obtain energy and cost efficient building processes. In sustainability perspective biobased products imply a potential alternative in many applications and so-called engineered wood products (EWP) show versatile properties and potential efficiency, which can support the needed societal development.
  5. LCA and ecological-socio-economical aspects of biobased building materials: A central part of the project also covers a proactive work to draw a strategic roadmap for sustainable innovations for biobased building materials.
  6. Wood and biobased building materials demonstration sites: Another central part of the project is to demonstrate different biobased material systems by exposing and monitor them in various experimental building materials sites. 

Project vision 

Within ten years the proportion of wood and biobased building materials used in the building sector, both in Sweden and globally, will increase to a level which supports a sustainable development of the society 

To reach this vision it is necessary to create long-term education and research links with essential groups of future decision makers. The target group in this project is engineering students and graduates within the Civil and Architectural Engineering programs at the Swedish Universities of the Built Environment (SBU). 

Project strategies

The main strategy to create these links is to increase the visibility of the wood and biobased building materials related industry at these programs which in this project will be accomplished through:

  • Split positions for 5-6 PhD students between universities and industry or institute (co-financed by the industry and institute). The goal is to reach engineering licentiate (Tekn. Lic.) examination, or alternative, from Tekn.Lic to the PhD for these students within the project period.
  • Close links between the PhD student projects and the building material related classes within these programs.
  • Close links between the PhD student projects and the building material related diploma works within these programs.

The project is structured in two interacting research areas: I) biobased building material science, revolving around material analyses and modification; and II) engineering and demonstration of the material systems, including life cycle and sustainability assessment as measures of e.g. environmental and socio-economic consequences. The work will be executed by a multidisciplinary approach in six work packages fitted in a matrix structure, where material science meets the engineering and demonstration areas.

Research team

Prof. Magnus Wålinder (KTH, project leader, WP1 & 3 leader); Prof. Dick Sandberg (LTU, WP2 leader);  Dr. Andreas Falk (KTH, research coordinator, WP4 leader); Dr. Martin Erlandsson (KTH/IVL, WP5 split leader); Dr. Anders Bystedt (SP/LTU, WP 5 split leader); Dr. Kristoffer Segerholm (SP/KTH, WP6 leader);  Dr. Kristiina Laine (KTH, Posdoc WP2 & 3); Dr. Maziar Sedighi Moghaddam (SP/KTH, Postdoc WP3); Olof Frisk (KTH/Ofk Innovation, PhD student WP1); Benedikt Neyses (LTU, PhD student WP2); Susanna Källbom (KTH, PhD student WP3); Magnus Larsson (KTH, PhD student WP4); Diego Peñalosa (SP/KTH, PhD student WP5); Emilia Markström (SP/LTU, PhD student WP5).


The objective is to engineer innovative wood and biobased building materials derived from renewable forest or agricultural biomass. The main driving force for this is to support a sustainable development of the society.

A great challenge, however, lies in ensuring long-term consistent performance of biobased building materials under the influence of e.g. hydrothermal variations, UV light, and microbial agents. In many cases a significantly extended service life should be targeted to be competitive to other mineral based materials. In most building applications a biobased material must resist bio-degradation, mainly determined by their moisture resistance.

The materials in focus are biobased composites (biocomposites), naturally modified wood, biobased insulation and cross-laminated timber (CLT) systems. The main idea is to demonstrate new innovative combinations of the materials in various applications, for example in multi-storey timber buildings. The project is structured in two interacting research areas: I) biobased building material science, revolving around material analyses and modification; and II) engineering and demonstration of the material systems, including life cycle and sustainability assessment as measures of e.g. environmental and socio-economic consequences.

The infrastructure for the project consists of a research joint venture between Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Luleå Technical University (LTU), SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and a number of industry parties, hosted by KTH.


Målet är att utveckla innovativa trä- och biobaserade byggmaterial från förnybar biomassa från skogs- eller jordbruksråvaror. Den främsta drivkraften är att stödja en hållbar utveckling av samhället.

En stor utmaning handlar om att säkerställa biobaserade byggmaterials långtidsprestanda under påverkan av t.ex. hydrotermiska variationer, UV-ljus och mikrobiologisk exponering. I många tillämpningar bör en betydligt förlängd livslängd eftersträvas för att biomaterialen skall vara konkurrenskraftiga jämfört med främst mineralbaserade material. I många byggtillämpningar måste därför ett biobaserat material ha ett säkerställt motstånd mot biologisk nedbrytning, vilket huvudsakligen bestäms av deras fuktegenskaper.

Material i fokus är biobaserade kompositer (biokompositer ), naturligt modifierat trä, biobaserad isolering och system för krysslimmat trä (CLT ). Grundtanken är att demonstrera nya innovativa kombinationer av biobaserade material i olika tillämpningar, till exempel i flervåningshus med trästomme. Projektet är uppdelat i två samverkande forskningsområden: I) materialvetenskap för biobaserade byggmaterial, inriktat mot materialanalyser och trämodifiering; och II) ingenjörsmässig demonstration av de olika materialsystemen, inklusive livscykelanalys (LCA) och hållbarhetsbedömning som mått på t.ex. miljömässiga och samhällsekonomiska konsekvenser.

Infrastrukturen för projektet består av forskningssamverkan mellan Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH), Luleå Tekniska Universitet (LTU), SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut och ett antal industriparter, med KTH som värd.

Thermal-hydro-mechanical (THM) modification of wood (2012-14)

Financed by the Nils and Dorthi Troëdsson Foundation

Research team: PhD student Susanna Källbom (KTH Building materials), Prof. Magnus Wålinder (KTH Building materials), Dr. Kristoffer Segerholm (SP Wood Technology and KTH Building materials), Dr. Dennis Jones (SP Wood Technology) and Prof. em Roger Rowell (Guest Professor at EcoBuild/SP Wood Technology and KTH Building materials).

Aim and objectives

The over-all aim is to research and develop new concepts for biocide free modification of wood for exterior building applications. Product categories of special interest are so-called engineered wood products (EWP) and bio- or wood-based composites for the building envelope and various outdoor applications, e.g. sidings or roof systems, windows, doors, and decking and railing. Service life and durability aspects of such biobased building materials are mainly related to properties such as moisture resistance, dimensional stability, resistance to biological deterioration, hardness, abrasion resistance and weathering features.

The objective is to apply and study concepts based on so-called thermal-hydro-mechanical (THM) modification of wood, including both solid wood as well as wood residuals (e.g. a ground wood component). The manufacturing processes for the final building material products could either be based on 1) compression, or 2) thermo-forming such as profile extrusion or injection molding. One idea is to apply process conditions where higher moisture levels are allowed in the wood compared to today's conventional processes.

As a specific project objective, state-of-the-art inverse gas chromatography (IGC) will be used to study physico-chemical properties of thermally and THM modified wood. By this approach, new THM modification routes, including also effects of potential processing or modification additives, can be studied. Of special interest are surface energetics related to moisture sorption properties of the modified wood, and also its compatibility with other materials. Such information could also enable tailoring of new compatible material combinations for e.g. wood-based composites.

See the Licentiate Thesis by Susanna Källbom available at Diva regardning this projects:

Källbom, S. (2015). Surface characterisation of thermally modified spruce wood and influence of water vapour sorption. [Licentiate thesis]. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. 

Durability aspects of building materials

This research area aims at a greater understanding of building materials composition, microstructure and properties, and the link to their function and service life in different applications. An expansive area is so-called "green" materials, such as modified wood and biobased composites, adhesives and coating systems. The main challenges for biobased building materials concern their susceptibility for moisture sorption and biological degradation. More efficient manufacturing processes must also be developed to meet the tough competition in the building materials sector. 

Wood or biobased composites as building materials

One focus in this research area includes new efficient tools for studying the micromorphology of new types of modern and eco-efficient wood based materials. So-called micro machining using UV-laser irradiation has been developed as a suitable surface preparation technique for microscopy. 

Surface characteristics of wood and wood-polymer compatibility

The scientific focus of this research area includes adhesion science and technology with the main objective to achieve a better understanding of the molecular interaction and adhesion phenomena between wood or biobased materials and other materials. Such information is, in turn, valuable to improve bonding between wood and adhesives or coatings, and also between the constituents in wood-based composites, especially under moist conditions.


Akustik och brand (AF2402), examinator, kursansvarig | Kurswebb

Byggmaterial, grundkurs (AF1301), examinator, lärare | Kurswebb

Byggnadsmaterial, fortsättningskurs (AF2301), examinator, kursansvarig, lärare | Kurswebb

Design av träbaserade hybridkonstruktioner (AF2302), examinator, lärare | Kurswebb

Examensarbete inom byggnadsmateriallära, avancerad nivå (AF233X), examinator, kursansvarig | Kurswebb

Examensarbete inom samhällsbyggnad, grundnivå (AF102X), lärare | Kurswebb

Hus och anläggningar (AF1002), assistent | Kurswebb

Samhällsbyggnadsprocessen (AI1527), assistent | Kurswebb

Samhällsbyggnadsprocessen, mindre kurs (AI1531), lärare | Kurswebb