Researchers at the University of Maryland have made a block of linden wood transparent, which they say will be useful in fancy building materials and in light-based electronics systems.
Materials scientist Liangbing Hu (also a member of the Maryland NanoCenter and the University of Maryland’s Energy Research Center) and his team at the University of Maryland, College Park, have removed the molecule in wood—lignin—that makes it rigid and dark in color. They left behind the colorless cellulose cell structures, filled them with epoxy, and came up with a version of the wood that is mostly see-thru. They published their results today in the journal Advanced Materials.
“It can be used in automobiles when the wood is made both transparent and high strength,” said Dr. Mingwei Zhu, the co-first author of the paper, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland. “You could also use it as a unique building material.”
Remember “xylem” and “phloem” from grade-school science class? These structures pass water and nutrients up and down the tree. Hu and his colleagues see these as vertically aligned channels in the wood, a naturally-grown structure that can be used to pass light along, after the wood has been treated.
The resulting three-inch block of wood had both high transparency—the quality of being see-thru—and high haze—the quality of scattering light. This would be useful, said Hu, in making devices comfortable to look at. It would also help solar cells trap light; light could easily enter through the transparent function, but the high haze would keep the light bouncing around near where it would be absorbed by the solar panel.
They compared how the materials performed and how light worked its way through the wood when they sliced it two ways: one with the grain of the wood, so that the channels passed through the longest dimension of the block. And they also tried slicing it against the grain, so that the channels passed through the shortest dimension of the block.
The short channel wood proved slightly stronger and a little less brittle. But though the natural component making the wood strong had been removed, the addition of the epoxy made the wood four to six times tougher than the untreated version.
Then they investigated how the different directions of the wood affected the way the light passed through it. When laid down on top of a grid, both kinds of wood showed the lines clearly. When lifted just a touch above the grid, the long-channel wood still showed the grid, just a little bit more blurry. But the short channel wood, when lifted those same few millimeters, made the grid completely invisible.
The Latest on: Transparent wood
via Google News
The Latest on: Transparent wood
- New Technique Improves Transparent Wood on February 15, 2019 at 1:35 pm
(Inside Science) -- Inspired by a technique first developed by botanists during the 1990s, materials scientists in the past few years have been making an almost oxymoronic-sounding material: transpare... […]
- Transparent wood, cigarette butt bricks top sustainable construction breakthroughs on January 7, 2019 at 2:07 pm
In the United Kingdom, renewable solutions are helping the construction industry—the cause of nearly half of the country’s carbon emissions—become a little greener. Planning and Building Control Today ... […]
- transparent wood on November 27, 2018 at 1:05 am
We’ve talked about transparent wood before. However, the process can be difficult to get just right. [NileRed] recently posted a video with very detailed instructions on how he’s doing it. Aside from ... […]
- New nanowood insulation is more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam on March 14, 2018 at 5:25 am
Hu said in the statement his research program “experiments with nature’s nanotechnology that we see in wood.” Inventwood’s website lists transparent wood and clear paper among their technologies. + Un... […]
- Transparent wood for windows is cooler than glass on August 17, 2016 at 4:52 am
Engineers at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD) demonstrate in a new study that windows made of transparent wood could provide more even and consistent natura... […]
- The incredible possibilities of 'invisible' wood on May 23, 2016 at 2:20 am
Over the past year, scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park have worked to develop a superior, transparent version of wood. The "invisible" wood -- as Dr. Liangbing Hu of the University ... […]
- Transparent Wood Is a Surprisingly Versatile Material on May 16, 2016 at 2:09 pm
Wood makes for better walls than windows — most of the time. Researchers from the University of Maryland devised a way to strip the colors and and chemicals from a block of wood to leave behind a clea... […]
- Building Material of the Future: 'Transparent Wood' on April 4, 2016 at 8:45 am
(Newser) – One of these days, your windows may be made out of wood. Swedish researchers have developed a transparent, wood-based material that could be used to let light into buildings, as well as for ... […]
- Newly-developed transparent wood could be used in buildings, solar cells, and more on March 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm
In news that’s sure to thrill architects and carpenters around the world, researchers at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have reportedly developed a new type of wood material that is vis... […]
- Wood windows? Swedes develop transparent wood material for buildings and solar cells on March 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm
A close-up look at the transparent wood created at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Credit: KTH Royal Institute of Technology Windows and solar panels in the future could be made from one of the bes... […]
via Bing News