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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Instead of glass: chemists have created a transparent wood

Chemists from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan) presented their latest invention — transparent wood that is able to replace the glass.

Clear wood is a wood veneer, which is a component of cell walls known as lignin, is removed by chemical means. When the tree is stripped of lignin, it becomes “beautiful white”, but still opaque. To achieve the transparency effect, the scientists had mixed received kipelno-white material prepolymerized methylmethacrylate (PMMA).

As one of authors of research Professor of the Royal Institute of technology Lars Berglund (Lars Berglund) in a press release of the Institute, the index of refraction of the mixture was such that the former wood became like transparent glass. By the way, changing the ratio of wood and PMMA in the resulting material can change its transparency.

Development will appreciate the structure’s Windows and translucent facades will letting the maximum light, while maintaining privacy. But this is not the only option of using the new material.

Clear wood is a suitable material for solar panels. It is affordable, accessible and renewable resource that is especially important when covering a large surface solar cells, say the authors.

Now work is underway to increase the level of transparency of the final material. Swedish chemists believe that the sustainability and practicality of the new material will open up almost limitless opportunities for its use.

Read more about the innovative approach to the treatment of wood fibers described in the scientific publication American Chemical Society journal Biomacromolecules.

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