Saturday, May 7, 2016

Transparent wood--wow

Researchers at the University of Maryland have made a block of linden wood transparent.

They say eventually this will be useful as building material and in light-based electronics.

Basically, they removed the molecule called lignin, which makes wood rigid and dark in color. This left the colorless cellulose structures--which they then filled with epoxy.

You can check out the journal Advanced Materials for more details.

The results were a "wood" that is mostly see-thru and has a high haze (scattering light), which makes it comfortable to look at.

This material could help solar cells trap light. The light would come in because it was transparent, but the high haze would keep the light bouncing around until it was absorbed by the solar panel.

Right now, the blocks of wood they are working with are 4 inches wide--but they say the process is scalable.

They are looking at five years to getting this to the market for use.

Solid wood windows...what will they think up next? Stay tuned.