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New type of wood - stronger than steel

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25 September 2018
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New type of wood - stronger than steel

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New type of wood - stronger than steel


New type of wood - stronger than steel
A chemical bath and a hot-press can transform wood into a material that is stronger than steel, researchers report. The process, and others like it, could make the humble material an eco-friendly alternative to using plastics and metals in the manufacture of cars and buildings.

Li`s team took a different approach: the researchers focused on modifying the porous structure of natural wood. First, they boiled different wood types, including oak, in a solution of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite for seven hours. That treatment left the starchy cellulose mostly intact, but created more hollow space in the wood structure by removing some of the surrounding compounds. These included lignin, a polymer that binds the cellulose.

Then the team pressed the block — like a panini sandwich — at 100 ēC for a day. The result: a wooden plank one-fifth the thickness, but three times the density of natural wood — and 11.5 times stronger. Previous attempts to densify wood have improved the strength by a factor of about three to four2.

To test the toughness of the material, the team fired pellets at it from a ballistic air gun normally used to test the impact resistance of military vehicles. Five layers of the material laminated together — just 3 millimetres thick in total — was able to halt a 46-gram steel projectile travelling at roughly 30 metres per second.


Source article: https://www.nature.com
Source image: https://www.sciencealert.com
March 09, 2018