Transparent Wood is Stronger and Lighter than Glass

Discussion in 'Off Topic Forum' started by dgstorm, May 16, 2016.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    11,016
    Likes Received:
    3,979
    Trophy Points:
    823
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +4,254
    [​IMG]

    Here's a crazy bit of off topic tech news for this mundane Monday morning. Apparently some researchers at the University of Maryland (lead by Liangbing Hu) were able to pull the color out of a block of wood and render it transparent. Not only were they able to make the block of wood see through, the result was also stronger and lighter than glass.

    Here's a quote with a few more details,

    "The researchers first boiled the wood in water, sodium hydroxide and other chemicals for roughly two hours. This flushes out lignin, the molecule responsible for giving wood its color. The team then poured epoxy over the block which makes the wood four to five times stronger, although it makes it all a little less environmentally-friendly in the process."

    The biggest hurdle to making this new wood-window material viable is that the researchers have yet to duplicate the results on anything larger than a five by five-inch sized wood block. What do you folks think of this odd new idea?

    Source: Engadget
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. liftedplane

    liftedplane Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    705
    Trophy Points:
    323
    Location:
    Washington State
    Ratings:
    +863
    interesting...

    now to get those fancy space ready aluminum windows and start building our first star ship.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. Sajo

    Sajo Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2013
    Messages:
    10,369
    Likes Received:
    6,616
    Trophy Points:
    1,863
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Ratings:
    +7,116
    Current Phone Model:
    Moto Droid Z Force
    Very interesting! How did someone come up with that idea? "Hey Bob, let's see if we can make this piece of wood see-through today". Crazy scientists.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. chevycam94

    chevycam94 SteelDroid ROM / Cortex ROM Developer
    Developer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,616
    Likes Received:
    196
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    Ratings:
    +222
    Current Phone Model:
    Nexus 6P, VZW Note Edge, D1
    So let me get this straight. The wood itself is stronger? It had nothing to do with the fact that they poured epoxy all over it? How sing would the wood itself have been WITHOUT the epoxy? Probably WEAKER then the original dry wood counterpart.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,455
    Likes Received:
    3,886
    Trophy Points:
    1,563
    Ratings:
    +4,348
    I use different epoxies with wood working and the glues are always stronger at the joint than the original wood but it's the wood itself that has the ability to flex some, making a stronger overall product in all 3 types (tensile, compressive and sheer) of strength. Being able to have a clear product made from wood in and of itself is pretty darn cool. Adding the ability for its extra strength is just bonus points. In this age of plastics and "save the trees" mentality I don't see it ever becoming more than just experimental though.

    Support Our Troops!!!
    Beast Mode 4
    <><
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Jonny Kansas

    Jonny Kansas Administrator
    Staff Member Rescue Squad

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    16,459
    Likes Received:
    7,038
    Trophy Points:
    1,278
    Location:
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    Ratings:
    +8,379
    Current Phone Model:
    Pixel XL
    Twitter:
    jonny_ks
    Also, while that example in the OP is quite clear, it's still not 100% clear to be seen through. I don't see an application for this other than maybe a small decorative window (if they can get it to work on a larger piece). Kind of a frosted glass look to it. Definitely not something I'd want on my phone at this point or even to replace windows in my house.

    I'm also curious about it's insulating properties, what with double and triple pane windows and such.

    Maybe on boats or airplanes or something? But it'd still need to be as clear as glass to be used widely. I also agree with Mark that the fact that people are worried about saving trees will prohibit something like this from taking off in a mass market.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,455
    Likes Received:
    3,886
    Trophy Points:
    1,563
    Ratings:
    +4,348
    Sky lights to save energy wild be one practical usage in the business world. Roof panels on delivery trucks and buses is another. Though these would need larger sheets, the technology they now already have to make use of wood dust could turn this into a practical lighting solution while at the same time cutting down on wasted wood scraps. When I was working with doors we created tons of literal wood dust over the years. Were they able to put this dust in the stuff to remove the coloring, press it into sheets like they do wood particles then coat it with safety glass coatings this could really work and be a win win.
    A bit off topic, I had a Safelite tech patch a chip in my windshield last week that is researching how she could work out coating entire windshields with the epoxy she used as the patch as a way where we the costumer could buy her service as a preventative to windshield chips and breaks. A real cost savings overall to folks that drive a lot of miles every year and go through the inevitable rock thrown up on the highways that , if you're like me, seeks out the windshield for a place to strike like it's radar guided to the center of the driving sweet spot for viewing the road. I have a rider on my insurance 26th unlimited no deductible glass breakage but with this coating I wouldn't have to take time to get repairs or replacements or drop the rider.

    Support Our Troops!!!
    Beast Mode 4
    <><
     
    #7 mountainbikermark, May 17, 2016
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
    • Like Like x 2
  8. kixfan

    kixfan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Northern NY
    Ratings:
    +165
    Current Phone Model:
    LG V10 on AT&T.
    Twitter:
    kixfan
    Doesn't seem very cost effective at this point. Boil for 2 hours, coat with epoxy, charge consumer three times the price for the same piece of wood. Should be a big hit. LOL
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. GAstorino

    GAstorino Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Ratings:
    +26
    What about the transparent aluminum we where promised.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  10. kixfan

    kixfan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Northern NY
    Ratings:
    +165
    Current Phone Model:
    LG V10 on AT&T.
    Twitter:
    kixfan
    Scotty hasn't invented it yet.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  11. jkaod

    jkaod Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    755
    Likes Received:
    363
    Trophy Points:
    203
    Ratings:
    +415
    • Like Like x 1
  12. chevycam94

    chevycam94 SteelDroid ROM / Cortex ROM Developer
    Developer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,616
    Likes Received:
    196
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    Ratings:
    +222
    Current Phone Model:
    Nexus 6P, VZW Note Edge, D1
    So once it's clear, is it actually stronger? Basically, is clear wood stronger than opaque wood (no epoxy involved, to keep the test equal).