Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials have developed a groundbreaking new technique which transforms normal wood into transparent wood. By removing the brown pigment from wood’s cellular structure, scientists are able to infuse the wood with clear epoxy which results in wood that’s not only transparent — it’s also 10X stronger than normal wood.
The discovery opens the door to a whole new era in wood engineering. Stephy Chung of CNN writes: “In a world where modern urban architecture relies heavily on the use of glass and steel, replacing these materials with transparent, biodegradable wood could revolutionize design concepts — as well as reduce heating costs and help to lower fuel consumption.”
Transparent wood will likely become a material of choice for architects who specialize in cutting-edge wood construction. As Lee Cowan profiled in a recent report for CBS Sunday Morning, wood construction in the 21st century is light years ahead of where it was just 20 years ago. Thanks to CLT wood (cross-laminated timber), architects and builders are now able to build high-rise towers made entirely of wood. Just imagine what these buildings would look like if the floors and walls were transparent.
You can watch the report below, and I’ve also included an incredible video showing how Dutch design firm MVRDV transformed a former townhouse in Amsterdam into Chanel’s new flagship store using glass bricks that are “stronger than concrete”. You can watch it below and read the full story at Dezeen.com. (Images courtesy of the University of Maryland)