A revolution in the world of construction … clear wood instead of glass

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Can you imagine that the transparent partition that you will look through in the future, whether you are in front of a storefront, or a window with a view in your house, will be made of wood?

This may be the case thanks to a revolutionary research project that is replacing glass with transparent wood.

Why wood?

It may lower your energy bill..this is what makes clear wood better than glass
Transparent wood may replace glass in the future.
Credit: Carl Court / Staff

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.

Stronger and more environmentally friendly .. Will transparent wood replace glass in our homes in the future?
Translucent wood is more environmentally friendly.
Credit: University of Maryland School of Engineering/Professor Bing 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. ”

Stronger and more environmentally friendly .. Will transparent wood replace glass in our homes in the future?
Clear wood has features that make it better than traditional glass.
Credit: University of Maryland School of Engineering/Professor Bing Hu

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.

Stronger and more environmentally friendly .. Will transparent wood replace glass in our homes in the future?
An image showing what the wood looked like after wiping it with hydrogen peroxide and exposing it to sunlight.
Credit: University of Maryland School of Engineering/Professor Bing Hu

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?

It may lower your energy bill..this is what makes clear wood better than glass
Glass comes at a high economic and environmental cost Credit: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / Contributor

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.

It may lower your energy bill..this is what makes clear wood better than glass
Heat easily moves through the glass, and translucent wood may alter this.
Credit: TOLGA AKMEN / Contributor

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.





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