Scientists at the University of British Columbia, Canada, have discovered a new way to recycle wood, but with a twist: the technique not only means you can build with it again, but it will be stronger than steel.
This treatment process can turn old pieces into a new super-strong material called “healed wood”
You don’t need whole pieces of wood to construct anything. This new substance may still be made from little bits or shattered pieces, and even sawdust or pulp.
When dimethylacetamide (a solvent) is combined with lithium chloride, it can break down the cell walls, releasing lignin, a glue-like substance found in wood. Tiny fibers in the cell walls are also free to capture other tiny fibers, resulting in a substance that is considerably tougher than the original.
When two or more pieces are glued together in this manner, the researchers refer to it as a “healed” piece. It no longer resembles wood, yet it retains some of its greatest characteristics while becoming stronger than steel or titanium alloys.
Steel and other metal production is not only energy demanding, but frequently consumes coal and other fossil fuels, thus recycled wood is preferable since no fresh trees are chopped down to produce the raw materials, and it is unquestionably a superior option to steel and other metals.
The approach is evidently scalable and therein lies the challenge to take this technology to the next level.
This story is based on an article in ” New Scientist”; researched and edited by Clean-Future Team