A team of researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims to have developed “transparent wood,” a glass-like material made almost entirely from trees.
According to scientists, this innovation is stronger, safer, more cost-effective and more thermally efficient than glass, reported Futurism.
They say that the big problem with conventional glass is that it is a poor quality insulator, especially in a single pane configuration.
Producing it can also leave a large carbon footprint. The lumber industry emits about 25,000 metric tons per year in that country, according to a recent USDA statement.
In its Article Published in the Journal of Advanced Functional Materials, the researchers claim that its transparent wood results in windows five times more thermal than glass.
The process of creating the material is also much more environmentally friendly, experts say. On the one hand, it is manufactured with raft trees from sustainable and fast-growing plantations.
The wood is oxidized in a special bleach bath and then soaked in a synthetic polymer.
The resulting material is not only transparent, but acquires properties similar to plastic: it can withstand impacts much better than glass, and it tends to bend and splinter like wood, rather than break into pieces.
“With all these potential benefits for consumers, manufacturing and the environment, the properties of transparent wood could not be clearer,” reads the statement delivered by USDA.