Scientists make transparent wood

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How is filling wood with epoxy more environmentally friendly than straight-up plastic?


Came just to ask that. Cured epoxy is, after all, plastic.


With enough research grant money, the researchers can live in a better environment. This makes epoxy filled wood very environmentally friendly.


That’s what I came here to say.

I mean, obviously something that’s only 20% epoxy resin uses less “plastic” than a solid block of HDPE or whatever, but there are so many facets to it– epoxy is by no means the “greenest” plastic however you measure it, and there will be all kinds of other considerations in the process used to make the final material, and “boutique” materials are inevitably less efficient to produce than materials churned out by the kiloton, and then there are lifecycle issues, etc.

It seems like it’s obligatory for novel materials to claim that they’re potentially “greener” maybe, assuming [long list of ill-founded assumptions], but I wish people would knock it off. It’s just white noise that makes us less informed. Since when is there anything wrong with saying you made transparent wood because you wanted to make transparent wood?


We’ve got humpbacks in the San Francisco Bay and now this. I’m suspicious we’re missing out on something.


Anybody bump their head on something they couldn’t see in Golden Gate Park recently?


No you’re not missing anything. Now where are the nuclear wessels?


Here’s the thing. Chekov went to Starfleet Academy, so he spent several years in the Bay Area (and yeah, I guess you could commute home on a daily basis to Russia via transporter, but he was there a lot). How could he not know where Alameda is? Bay Farm Island, that I could understand. But Alameda?


This is such a cool idea and the possibilities are endless - anyone interested in a transparent treehouse? And I like the environmentally friendly angle as well!

Kind of like saying that I’m wearing a shirt made of wood because Rayon comes from wood fibers…


!!!massive hand waving retconn!!!
In voyager when they went back to the 20th century they mention large parts of san fransico being under water. Maybe alameda is under water when chekov goes to the academy.


Re: your observation - how quaint.


Shut the front door! I want this for my front door…

Because the epoxy is held-together with little bits of bio-degradable wood, so eventually the big ol’ block will fall apart into lots of little pieces of epoxy!


Not one “boner” joke, how sad. ie. “transparent wood”.


According to the article, epoxies or polymers can be used to fill in the wood. I’d think that that would also encapsulate the cellulose fibers as in a composite material, protecting them from degrading.


In the immediate future, Hu sees its transparent capabilities as a substitute material to glass.

“Glass windows are a big problem in the summer and winter, they have bad thermal isolation,” Hu explains. As a natural insulator, wood could better insulate from the cold and keep areas cool in hot weather.

The study also reveals that transparent wood composites exhibit high transmittance qualities or a “high optical haze” that could be potentially used in solar cells, which convert the sun’s energy into electricity.

“If you place the transparent wood in front of a solar cell, the amount of light absorbed will be higher, and efficiency can increase up to 30%,” says Hu, of the material’s advanced ability to control and trap how light enters.

The material offers large-scale possibilities for architects and engineers, looking for greener building materials.
“Potentially, the wood could be made to match or even exceed the strength of steel per weight, with the added benefit that the wood would be lighter in weight,” explains Hu.

So yeah, sounds to me like it could be an environmental win compared to some other building materials. I’d love to get some samples to try out on my laser cutter… :slight_smile:


You actually watched that? Thank you for your service! :wink:


I heard two garbage men saying something about that. The weird thing is that they both had heavy New York accents even though they were presumably from the San Francisco Bay Area.


the title reminds me of a joke about wonder woman & superman…