Engineers on the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have discovered a approach to make wood greater than 10 occasions occasions stronger and harder than earlier than, making a pure substance that’s stronger than many titanium alloys.
“This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,” mentioned Liangbing Hu of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and the chief of the workforce that did the analysis, to be printed on February eight, 2018 within the journal Nature. “This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fiber, but much less expensive.” Hu is an affiliate professor of supplies science and engineering and a member of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute.
“It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” mentioned Teng Li, the co-leader of the workforce and Samuel P. Langley Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at UMD’s Clark School. His workforce measured the dense wood’s mechanical properties. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.”
The workforce additionally examined the brand new wood materials and pure wood by taking pictures bullet-like projectiles at it. The projectile blew straight by the pure wood. The absolutely handled wood stopped the projectile partway by.
“Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings,” Hu mentioned.
“The paper provides a highly promising route to the design of lightweight, high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired, ” mentioned Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University who was not concerned within the research. “It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to implement.”
“This kind of wood could be used in cars, airplanes, buildings — any application where steel is used,” Hu mentioned.
“The two-step process reported in this paper achieves exceptionally high strength, much beyond what [is] reported in the literature,” mentioned Zhigang Suo, a professor of mechanics and supplies at Harvard University, additionally not concerned with the research. “Given the abundance of wood, as well as other cellulose-rich plants, this paper inspires imagination.”
“The most outstanding observation, in my view, is the existence of a limiting concentration of lignin, the glue between wood cells, to maximize the mechanical performance of the densified wood. Too little or too much removal lower the strength compared to a maximum value achieved at intermediate or partial lignin removal. This reveals the subtle balance between hydrogen bonding and the adhesion imparted by such polyphenolic compound. Moreover, of outstanding interest, is the fact that that wood densification leads to both, increased strength and toughness, two properties that usually offset each other,” mentioned Orlando J. Rojas, a professor at Aalto University in Finland.
Hu’s analysis has explored the capacities of wood’s pure nanotechnology. They beforehand made a variety of rising applied sciences out of nanocellulose associated supplies: (1) tremendous clear paper for changing plastic; (2) photonic paper for bettering photo voltaic cell effectivity by 30%; (three) a battery and a supercapacitor out of wood; (four) a battery from a leaf; (5) clear wood for power environment friendly buildings; (6) photo voltaic water desalination for ingesting and particularly filtering out poisonous dyes. These wood-based rising applied sciences are being commercialized by a UMD spinoff firm, Inventwood LLC.
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