Simulations of moisture transport through the microstructure of wood during drying associated with district heating systems

The project will be performed within the national research and educational program Resource Smart Processes that gathers the main industrial and academic actors within the Swedish forest industry and provides a strong collaborative environment with close connection to as well industry as state-of-the-art research infrastructure. As a master-thesis student in this program you will also participate in the networking and scientific events (workshops, conferences, project meetings) and collaborate closely both with the industrial and academic partners involved.


The moisture content of woodchips plays a decisive role when used as biomass for district heating systems. This project aims to describe the physical diffusion process of confined water in wood. The project focuses on the three-dimensional finite element modelling (FEM) of the diffusion process in wood during drying using the actual microstructure of wood based on X-ray computed tomography scans. The thesis is part of a twin project at the UiT Arctic University of Norway. There, the master student will determine diffusion coefficients during drying based on a non-destructive technique called NMR. The determined diffusion coefficient will be used in the current project as material input parameters.

Aim and objective:

The main objective is to describe the transport of moisture through the cellular structure of wood during drying by the means of implementing a FEM model of a realistic wood microstructure in a Multiphysics diffusion simulation.


1. Perform a literature survey.
2. Create a 3D finite element model using tomograms of the wood’s microstructure.
3. Simulate and analyse moisture diffusion through wood with FEM using COMSOL®.


We are looking for a motivated student, preferably  with knowledge in solid and/or fluid mechanics and experience with finite element modelling. The project can be performed in pair.

Project start:

January 2024 or according to agreement.

Contact details:


Sara Florisson

Malin Wohlert

Espen Johannessen