Scientists have found a way to turn wood into a mini-generator that produces electricity from deformation.
Materials with these properties are called piezoelectric. Wood itself can generate an eclectic compressive stress, but it is very weak. Researchers at the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich and the Swiss Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Applied Materials Science and Technology have developed a modification method that greatly enhances its potential.
To do this, the team chemically removed the hard lignin., turning wood into a white, spongy material. It consists of many thin layers of cellulose and is flexible enough to generate 85 times higher voltage than the original natural material..
According to scientists, a similar effect can be achieved by using the fungus Ganoderma applanatum instead of chemicals, which naturally degrades lignin and hemicellulose.
In the future, it will be possible to create biosensors and environmentally friendly building materials from such modified wood, converting pressure energy into electricity..
We also previously reported on the development of a transparent wood that blocks heat and UV light better than glass..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: ETH Zurich
A new type of modified wood generates electricity from pressure