The tree is, without a doubt, a good building and decorative material, but its use is associated with a mass of not the most pleasant moments since the cost and harm to the environment due to massive deforestation and ending with a high fire hazard. However, a group of Chinese researchers created a material that solves all the above problems at once.
The “synthetic” tree externally and microscopically resembles the fibers of a real tree, having similar properties: strength, ability to retain heat and so on, however, resistant to high temperatures, as well as acids. According to the publication Science Advances, for the development team is responsible for the Hefei National Laboratory of Physical Sciences. The main material is a synthetic polymer that crystallizes on a polymer matrix, binding to other components, forming a structure similar to wood.
Scheme for the production of wood based on polymers
Experts used resole and melamine-formaldehyde resins, as well as a mixture of aromatic substances, of which 30% consist of hardwood and softwood. In this case, replacing the auxiliary components can also change the color and other properties of the finished material. To create a “synthetic” tree, scientists placed the above-mentioned resins in aqueous solution, chitosan and acetic acid.
The structure of the artificial tree polymer
After this, all were transferred to a copper container with liquid nitrogen, which allowed the substances to build a matrix of elongated channels . Then vacuum dried and allowed to solidify at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius. The resulting material showed resistance to fire, corrosive acids, as well as to a compression of 45 MPa. Moreover, the effect of water does not destroy the structure of the new material, but only slightly reduces its mechanical properties.