Scientists invented transparent wood

The new material can replace glass or plastic in the construction of energy efficient buildings, since it is not only transparent and is durable, but also can accumulate and highlight heat.

Although many consider wood with the construction material of the past, but recently researchers find all new ways to use it, thanks to unique natural properties. A team of scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm produced a new multifunctional material from wood, which skips light very well.

To create the first version of the material from light balsa, the entire lignin was removed — the component that gives wood strength and color. Next, the remaining tissues were impregnated with water-repellent acrylic, filling the pores, formed after removing lignin, and hollow vessels used by wood for water circulation. It helped not only to preserve the structure of the wood, but also restore its strength, and also significantly improve optical characteristics.

Further, the researchers decided to improve the material by adding polyethylene glycol to acrylo, which, when heated, absorbs heat and melts, and with a decrease in temperature it solidifies, highlighting the accumulated energy. Thanks to this property, the transparent wood can be used to create more energy-efficient buildings, since the solar energy collected during the day will later come across the interior.

According to scientists, 100 g of such transparent wood can absorb up to 8 kJ heat. In this case, various types of polyethylene glycol have a different melting point, which allows you to adjust the properties of the material depending on the conditions of application.

The photo above shows how the sample matures in the process of excavating the 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 searching for a suitable alternative. In parallel, they also develop mass production technology and the study of the physical properties of «wood glass».

Recall that recently scientists have found a way to make wood more than ten times more stronger, creating an inexpensive and lightweight