Wood that's stronger than steel


Well, you have to do it right.:wink:


I’m imagining super light and thin skateboards. Also Carbon Negative! ( depending on the source of the energy you use to treat it )




It’s called hemp.


If you continue to ask so many rude questions you will completely spoil the effect.


The other thing about this wood-based material is that it’s ultimate tensile strength is surely highly anisotropic (it works well only in one direction).

I think that the only way their comparison to steel would make sense is if they compared it to worst commercially available steel (S235), that has yield strength of 235 MPa, and compared it to best directional results of their material (probably about 280 MPa). In other directions they would be lucky to get 60 MPa.

Specific strength comparison could be favorable in some applications:


Seeing your avatar made me hear this quote in the voice of the pirate from “Venture Brothers” :joy::joy::joy:


Well, you have to have some kind of environmentally-friendly analogy-metric for describing Captain Planet’s projectile resistance…


nails? nope
screws? nope
welding? nope
bolting? if you can drill a hole in it, knock yourself out


And you thought gluelam beams were tough to drill through!


Wonder how it burns? Something tells me it’s either highly resistive, or the wood equivalent of thermite. Likely no middle ground.


This intrigues me for a number of reasons. Long interested in modular building and empowering the solitary and disabled homebuilder, I’ve worked on systems for housing based on T-slot profile framing. But its usual use of aluminum has made it expensive for that with few companies willing to produce profiles for architectural uses. Aluminum also has an issue with thermal conductivity with some developers exploring solutions like integral thermal breaks, but then never bringing anything to market.

I’ve always thought a wooden T-slot could have some advantages, but wood isn’t equally strong in all directions, making the T-nut connection method impractical. You could only use the slots for light elements and the main structure would need a different connection system, like the concealed steel plate or pin joints used in some Japanese housing. And to carry the same loads as aluminum would call for much heavier beams, limiting the potential for the solitary builder. But a modified wood that is this strong might indeed perform just as conventional T-slot while having lower thermal conductivity, modest parts weight, and perhaps a lower cost.

There’s interesting possibilities here in a space ISRU context too. Contrary to the impressions often made by SciFi, actual space settlements would likely feature a lot of organic materials because they need to produce industrial stuff with relatively low energy and so a lot of basic materials will be farmed. Really, your near-term home in space (if there is a near-term…) is likely to have a lot more in common with traditional Japanese architecture than Star Trek. Expect to see Arabian majlis and Thai morn kwan furniture, shoji screens, and tatami mats on Mars.

But it would be difficult to produce hardwoods in space. Large trees need lots of room, lots of growing time, wind, and gravity. Most of that type of material is going to come from fast growing, low-density, small scale plant material. So you’ll see a lot of wheatboard/riceboard/ecoboard, pressboard, cardboard, composites based on these, plastics from plant sources, textiles, and things like ‘isochanvre’. (a crude geopolymer made from siliconized hemp chard first used in some Roman concrete)

Well, now we have a process that could be applied to these low-density plant materials making them competitive in performance with hardwoods and light alloys which–especially early on–would come largely from recycling stuff sent from Earth. Space settlements could feature a lot of ‘high performance’ composite wooden structures and machines. If it can tolerate the ambient space environment, we might even see built-on-orbit spacecraft made of wooden space frames.

But I think I’d just like to first experiment with this new wood for making Grid Beam parts to see how that works.


“That” being the… hmmm?


It looks like it could replace a lot of transite board, maybe?


hmmm, only if it does not swell back up in water - I bet water will be this stuff’s kryptonite


That gives me an idea.


Stamping dies? Seriously?

That IS impressive!

So what’s the drawback?


Seriously, I’ve seen it personally :slight_smile:
When I studied aerospace engineering, a friend of mine was investigating possibility of stamping airplane ribs using compreg die – his parents were co owners of small aircraft manufacturing company (manufactured single seat ultra light aircraft and UAVs). Previously the ribs were made from glass fiber - epoxy composite, but there required a lot of manual work. The die was made from compreg, and cutouts from (If I remember well) 1mm thick 2024-T1 alloy were stamped with rubber. After that the ribs were heat treated to T4 or T6 temper. It worked out quite well, and making stamping dies out of compreg was a standard practice back then, both because it was easier to machine than steel, and because there was less risk of damage to stamped parts.

There are three:

  • It’s very problematic to machine with HSS tools. Blades on the electric reciprocating saw can just go dull and overheat from it (but I’ve machined it with with high quality carbide mills on a CNC milling machine and it machines beautifully this way).
  • It has synthetic resin smell, it goes away after about two years.
  • The manufacturer doesn’t want to sell small quantities (but some other companies do).

I’ve just found a bit of it at my flat. Notice, how tightly packed the layers are. Unlike plywood there are no pores, so after machining it can be polished to glossy surface. Due to having lots of layers with alternating colors, things like knife handles made from it look amazing.

Another wonderful material is Finnish aircraft grade plywood. They make 1mm thick sheets that have 7 layers of birch veneer :slight_smile:


Paper is chipped wood, stripped of lignin, stuck together by hydrogen bonds. So this is pressed paper with a bit extra anisotropy from not being chipped?


Actually, it is used to test a certain type of strength (penetrative resistance/stopping power). Take a known mass and fire it at a known speed at a thick slab of the material and see how far it penetrates.