Not only is "see-through wood" more energy efficient, it could be Vermont's next big industry.
"Stronger than plastic and tougher than glass, the resin-filled material is being exploited for smartphone screens, insulated windows and more." That's according to a new story in the Smithsonian.
See-through wood, also known as transparent wood, is a type of wood that has been chemically modified to remove lignin, allowing light to pass through it. Here are some key details about see-through wood:
It is created by removing the light-blocking lignin component in natural wood, usually through a delignification process using chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or sodium hydroxide. This leaves the light-transmitting cellulose framework intact.
The process typically removes over 90% of the lignin, allowing the wood to transmit about 75% as much light as glass while retaining strengths similar to natural wood.
It can be made out of many species, including birch, pine, poplar and basswood. The wood can be laminated and molded after processing as well.
Applications are widening rapidly and include uses in windows, doors, skylights, walls, lenses and more - applications where light transmission, strength and low weight are beneficial.
It provides an energy-efficient alternative to glass at lower cost, while avoiding some of glass's fragility. It can aid with lighting and solar cell efficiency.
With so many trees requiring proper forest management in Vermont, the Green Mountain State may be a great candidate for this new technology.