Apparently, University of Maryland engineers are our kind of people.
Members of their team recently created a new type of wood that is 12 times stronger and 10 times tougher than regular wood. Why should you care? It could be the future of lightweight, high-performance structural materials.
“It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” said Teng Li, University of Maryland associate professor and co-leader of the team. Versatile and easy to implement, the wood is also six times lighter than steel, although just as strong. This spells innovation for a wide range of applications including cars, airplanes and buildings—anywhere steel is used.
The process is a two-parter. First, the team removes the wood’s lignin, the substance that makes it rigid. Then it’s compressed under mild heat at around 150 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing the cellulose fibers to form strong hydrogen bonds. The compression makes the wood five times thinner than its original size.
Do we dare see Hamilton wood wheels in our future?