The new material can replace glass or plastic in energy-efficient buildings, as it is not only transparent and durable, but also able to accumulate and generate heat.
Although many consider wood to be a building material of the past, researchers have recently been finding new ways to use it, thanks to its unique natural properties. A team of scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has made a new multifunctional material from wood that transmits light very well.
All lignin was removed to create the first version of the light balsa material. – component that gives wood strength and color. Further, the remaining fabrics were impregnated with water-repellent acrylic, which filled the pores formed after the extraction of lignin, and the hollow vessels used by the tree to circulate water. This helped not only to preserve the structure of the wood, but also to restore its strength, as well as to significantly improve the optical characteristics..
Further, the researchers decided to improve the material by adding polyethylene glycol to acrylic, which, when heated, absorbs heat also melts, and when the temperature drops, it solidifies, releasing the stored energy. Thanks to this property, transparent wood can be used to create more energy efficient buildings, since the solar energy collected during the day will later enter the interior..
According to scientists, 100 g of such transparent wood can absorb up to 8 kJ of heat. At the same time, different types of polyethylene glycol have different melting points, which allows you to customize the material properties depending on the conditions of use..
The photo above shows how the sample becomes cloudy in the process. release of accumulated heat (right).
Despite the fact that the invented material is environmentally friendly, but due to the use of acrylic, it is not biodegradable. Therefore, at the moment, scientists are looking for a suitable alternative. In parallel, they are also developing technology for mass production and the study of physical properties. «wood glass».
Recall that recently scientists found a way to make wood more than ten times stronger by creating an inexpensive and lightweight alternative steel, and also created a device from wood that converts heat into electricity.
NOVEMBER EP1 SCIENCE NEWS: Scientists Create Transparent Wood As Clear As Glass
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: American Chemical Society