This may be the case thanks to a revolutionary research project that is replacing glass with transparent wood.
And since 2015, work has begun on a research project centered on exploring transparent wood in terms of its manufacturing methods, features, and application possibilities, according to a professor at the University of Maryland in the United States and director of the university’s Material Innovation Center, Liangping Hu.
The inspiration for making glass-like materials made of wood came because of its characteristics, as he said in an interview with CNN in Arabic: “Wood is a renewable, abundant, biodegradable material with a lower net environmental impact, which can be used as an alternative to materials that require quantities. Larger than petroleum-based fossil fuels to produce. ”
Translucent wood is produced by wiping the surface of the wood with hydrogen peroxide and exposing it to ultraviolet light to remove the light-absorbing chromophore from the lignin in it.
Then, the mesh of the pores of the wood is penetrated with an epoxy polymer, making the material very transparent.
This results in translucent wood that could revolutionize the construction world.
What about its features?
Although glass is the most common material used in building windows, it comes at a high economic and environmental cost, according to a report on the project on the official website of the US Department of Agriculture.
Therefore, translucent wood could revolutionize construction.
Compared to traditional glass, wood has lower thermal conductivity, is lighter, stronger and more environmentally friendly.
Hu emphasized that, “The transparent wood currently developed is a sustainable material, as the raw materials and the manufacturing process are green and have low consumption of energy, water and chemicals.”
Heat moves easily through glass, especially single-pane glass, and this leads to higher energy bills when heat escapes during cold weather and when it flows in when it’s warm.
Wood may limit this, as it contains a pyramidal, porous, and anisotropic structure, something that can be exploited in regulating light and heat to improve the energy efficiency of a building, he said.
He co-founded the start-up Inventwood LLC that markets clear wood technologies, so implementing this innovation may only be a matter of time.