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Postby SDK » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:24 pm UTC ... 70723.html

Interesting new research on wood that's been treated to become 3x denser and 10x stronger than ordinary wood. They claim it might see widespread use in the automotive and aviation industries, saying that it's stronger than steel. I haven't read the original research yet, but I'm a bit skeptical of that claim just because there's more to materials than strength. Toughness (the ability to resist sudden impact) in particular is something that high strength composites tend to have trouble with.

Interesting though! They've made some transparent wood in the same lab as well.
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Re: Superwood

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:21 pm UTC

Natural and un-messed-with wood has used biological nanoconstruction techniques to create a material resilient to shocks and forces that the tree faces. (There's a word I read today that describes this in a geeky manner, that I've forgotten again. Darn!)

Obviously, ignoring the way the wood is naturally strong and not re-using (or enhancing) it in the right way may mean the loss of this raw advantage, just as a master carpenter knows how best to work with the grain of wood being tooled into shape, but I suspect that toughness in all the right ways might be preserved, better at least than a basic fill-a-mould-let-it-set metallurgical process would if there's no intelligent control (or persuasion, towards a broad end) of crystal-growth and the like.

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Re: Superwood

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:17 pm UTC

Wood needs to do other things, too. The publication claims that the wood is densified by partial removal of hemicellulose and lignin and collapse of cell walls by boiling in an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfate. If that improves strength and toughness at the expense of other material properties, it could still be a useful building material.

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