New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys but lighter and cheaper
Engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have found a way to make wood more than 10 times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys.
“This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,” said Liangbing Hu of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and the leader of the team that did the research, to be published on February 8, 2018 in the journal Nature. “This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fiber, but much less expensive.” Hu is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute.
“It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” said Teng Li, the co-leader of the team and Samuel P. Langley Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at UMD’s Clark School. His team measured the dense wood’s mechanical properties. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.”
The team also tested the new wood material and natural wood by shooting bullet-like projectiles at it. The projectile blew straight through the natural wood. The fully treated wood stopped the projectile partway through.
“Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings,” Hu said.
“The paper provides a highly promising route to the design of lightweight, high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired, ” said Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to implement.”
“This kind of wood could be used in cars, airplanes, buildings – any application where steel is used,” Hu said.
“The two-step process reported in this paper achieves exceptionally high strength, much beyond what [is] reported in the literature,” said Zhigang Suo, a professor of mechanics and materials at Harvard University, also not involved with the study. “Given the abundance of wood, as well as other cellulose-rich plants, this paper inspires imagination.”
“The most outstanding observation, in my view, is the existence of a limiting concentration of lignin, the glue between wood cells, to maximize the mechanical performance of the densified wood. Too little or too much removal lower the strength compared to a maximum value achieved at intermediate or partial lignin removal. This reveals the subtle balance between hydrogen bonding and the adhesion imparted by such polyphenolic compound. Moreover, of outstanding interest, is the fact that that wood densification leads to both, increased strength and toughness, two properties that usually offset each other,” said Orlando J. Rojas, a professor at Aalto University in Finland.
Hu’s research has explored the capacities of wood’s natural nanotechnology. They previously made a range of emerging technologies out of nanocellulose related materials: (1) super clear paper for replacing plastic; (2) photonic paper for improving solar cell efficiency by 30%; (3) a battery and a supercapacitor out of wood; (4) a battery from a leaf; (5) transparent wood for energy efficient buildings; (6) solar water desalination for drinking and specifically filtering out toxic dyes. These wood-based emerging technologies are being commercialized through a UMD spinoff company, Inventwood LLC.
Learn more: Super wood could replace steel
The Latest on: Wood-based emerging technologies
- The close: Global stocks start November with broad rally on November 1, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Norbord Inc. jumped 7.8 per cent after the wood-based panels maker reported a rise in quarterly ... company said it would buy Newfield Exploration Co for $5.5-billion. Maxar Technologies Ltd. dropped ... […]
- At midday: TSX rises as material stocks rally on November 1, 2018 at 8:49 am
Norbord Inc. rose 6.2 per cent after the wood-based panels maker reported a rise in quarterly ... after the company said it would buy Newfield Exploration Co for $5.5-billion. Maxar Technologies Ltd. ... […]
- Laughing all the way to the apocalypse: Ireland’s climate inaction on October 12, 2018 at 10:30 pm
“For Ireland, overshooting 1.5 degrees would accentuate our emerging problems of climate extremes and ... In the short, many people can substitute coal for wood-based heating fuels, and many commuters ... […]
- Maine Developments – bio news mounts from the Pine Tree state on June 17, 2018 at 8:49 am
Submitted information will be included in MTI’s Forest Industry Emerging Technology Database ... that Biofine was seeking investors to help it scale up the wood-based biofuel technology developed by t... […]
- Super Wood Could Replace Steel on February 8, 2018 at 7:51 am
transparent wood for energy efficient buildings; solar water desalination for drinking and specifically filtering out toxic dyes. These wood-based emerging technologies are being commercialized throug... […]
- Architect: We should be building out of sunshine on July 16, 2017 at 9:41 pm
The wood-based designs are better ... we can build pretty much anything out of carbon that we coaxed from the air. All of these emerging technologies - and more - arrive in tandem with the growing und... […]
- India Formaldehyde Market to Grow at 4% till 2025, Says TechSci Research on November 22, 2016 at 7:51 am
Formaldehyde is tailored for utilization as the crucial raw material and a key ingredient in construction sector with applications in wood-based panel items ... assignments in high growth and emerging ... […]
- The DOE’s 12 Top Biobased Molecules – what became of them? on April 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm
With the news that Cargill has acquired OPX Bio’s fermentation-based technology, which featured a hot route ... based on the Life Cycle Assessment results of its unique wood based integration concept. ... […]
- Biofuel technologies under the spotlight on October 17, 2014 at 12:29 am
Ready to go and emerging wood-based biofuel technologies are under the spotlight at a conference in Rotorua today. Forest owners, harvesters and processors as well as scientists, marketers and financi... […]
- Alberta Innovates Partners on Wood-Based Auto Parts Research Project on October 3, 2012 at 10:53 am
"Development of new technologies for the emerging bioeconomy is complex," said Blade. "We are fortunate to have partners that can provide additional research capacity and who understand the market nee... […]
via Google News and Bing News