Transparent Wood still very transparent

woody2

Vor ein paar Wochen ging die Meldung rum, Forscher hätten transparentes Holz geschaffen. Das war am 1. April und ich denke, deshalb hat mir das damals keiner geglaubt.

wood2Jetzt hat ein weiteres Team transparentes Holz hergestellt und ein Paper dazu veröffentlicht (Paywall). Grob zusammengefasst: Die spülen zunächst den das Lignin (eine Art Stoff-Festiger in den Pflanzen, die ohne Lignin eher Matsch wären, oder zumindest ziemlich labbrig) aus den Zellwänden, woraufhin das Holz seine Farbe verliert. Dann baden sie es in Epoxiden. An dieser Stelle verabschiedet sich dann mein biochemisches Halbviertelwissen, Snip vom Discover-Mag:

The secret lies in the natural architecture of the wood, combined with the refractive qualities of the epoxy. Even though its color was gone, the underlying structures in the wood remained the same, including the tiny channels that trees use to transport nutrients. When filled with the epoxy, these channels turned into conduits for light, focusing it and allowing it to pass through. The end product looks more like a piece of plastic than something that once stood in a forest. […] The transparent wood is stronger than glass and won’t shatter on impact. But wooden windows have a ways to go before they start appearing in homes.

Currently, the researchers can only treat wood chunks that are up to about four inches to a side. In addition, they are currently limited to about a centimeter in thickness, although they have made clear wood that is as thin as a sheet of paper as well. A separate team of Swedish researchers also recently managed to create transparent wood with a similar method, although their wood was not as thick, and did not let as much light through.