Scientists have developed a “super-wood” with the strength of steel

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In the 19th century, Jules Verne described how ordinary, cheap and affordable material becomes an advantageous alternative to expensive alloys and compositions in non-standard processing. In the XXI century, the University of Maryland, created one of the prototypes of such a miracle material – “super-wood”. It is stronger than steel alloys, and it is almost like sawdust.

The team of Dr. Liangbin Hu is not the first to create something unusual out of the wood. Over the past few years, they invented a transparent tree, sodium-ion wooden batteries and wood-based water filters. Now we have developed the technology of ultra-strong compaction of wood, which is easy to implement in production.

In the first stage, the tree is boiled in a mixture of sulphide and sodium hydroxide to remove soft hemicellulose and lignin. The cooked log is placed under a powerful press, the pressure of which destroys the cell walls and compacts the structure of the wood to the state of a tightly compressed mass of fibers of nanometer thickness. In comparison with the initial material, it is ten times denser, and its strength increases tenfold.

In one experiment, the super-wood partially stopped the turn from the machine gun, which crushed the ordinary tree into the chips. If you give the flexible mass to the desired shape before pressing, you can immediately get ready-made parts – this makes the process even cheaper. But the most interesting, with this approach, the original wood species loses value and one can use the cheapest, fast growing varieties instead of expensive and rare varieties.

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