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They manage to create transparent wood, ideal to replace the glass of the windows

Science continues to take steps to address humanity’s challenges on climate change and the sustainability of cities. In this sense, a group of researchers from the University of Maryland have come up with a method that allows converting wooden sheets into transparent wood, which could lead to the possibility of replacing window glass with this material in the future .

The main advantages are found in greater resistance to impacts and its better insulating capacity, taking into account that windows tend to be some of the places where energy usually escapes within the same house or room. To this, it must be considered that this resulting material offers a level of clarity very close to that of the glass itself, which makes it ideal for future constructions, although at the moment it is not currently being used at industrial levels.

It could also be combined with translucent concretes to give rise to more energy efficient buildings by making better use of natural light, although this is clearly a way to go and a cultural change to be made.

An easy and cheap process to carry out

In CBC explican that the solution has been to make sheets of wood with cellulose fibers and lignin, which acts as a resin that binds the fiber. First it was considered to remove the lignin by dangerous chemical processes at high temperatures, but because of this, and that it was also an expensive and fragile process, it was discarded.

Finally, it was considered to apply a hydrogen peroxide solution with a common brush, a much easier and cheaper process. These sheets were then left for an hour in the sun or under a ultraviolet lamp so that the brown chromophores, which are found in the ligniga and which prevent the passage of light, make the wood turn white.

These sheets of wood were then treated with a strong, clear epoxy solution to cover the pores of the wood and harden it.

And it was here when they succeeded in making the sheets of white wood become almost transparent, allowing 90% of visible light to pass over it. With this they achieved an alternative for windows, although it would also be applicable on walls, using sheets with a greater thickness, for those who want practically transparent walls.

Best of all, this method is applicable to all types of wood, making it possible for future constructions to be more energy sustainable. It is already a question that it begins to be applied in the day to day of present and future constructions.

Image Credit: CBC

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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