The new material becomes cloudy after allocation of the accumulated heat.
Transparent wood may one day replace the glass in the Windows. The process of turning it into transparent also gives him heat storage properties that can help regulate temperature in buildings.
Celine Montanari from the Royal Institute of technology KTH in Sweden, and colleagues built on previous work which has created a transparent wood, removing a structural component called lignin from wood, let light through it.
In the next stage, the team soaked delignification birch wood in PEG (polyethylene glycol), polymer, which is also contained in the theatrical smoke generators and toothpaste. When injected into the wooden panel it impedes the passage of heat – regardless of whether you’re isolating the building from the cold outside or trying to keep the heat of summer.
PEG solid at room temperature but melts at 30 degrees Celsius, although it remains fixed in the wood structure.
“When we build, we try to use a lot of glass, but it has a disadvantage in that it is a poor insulator, so there is a big heat loss,” says Montanari. – The tree is really amazing, 10 times better, insulates, but does not the light.”
Composite wood is not as good as insulator as wood, but is about four times better than high-quality double glazing.
The material can also withstand heavy loads and is biodegradable, which facilitates its disposal, when compared with concrete or glass.
Modified wood is still not quite transparent – when PEG is solid, the material has a white mist, similar to frosted glass. But, Montanari says that those early problems can be overcome by adjusting the chemistry or the use of different wood species.
The work was presented at the meeting of the American chemical society.
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