ConstructionConstruction industryModern technologiesTechnologies

Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood

Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood – it is now possible!
Let’s take a look at wood…
How was the first wooden window made?
Wooden window today
Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood and its advantages

Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood - it is now possible!

Until recently, construction was experiencing a great boom, with a whole lot of glazed buildings in the background. If we’ve read Żeromski’s “Przedwiośnie” we can safely say that the myth of “glass houses” has come true. This is, of course, a metaphor for modernity and functionality. It turns out that today scientists have developed a new technology, which we will discuss in this article. Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood. Improbable yet! All thanks to scientists from the University of Maryland. They have developed – as a result of their breakneck research – a way to produce transparent wood. The advantage of these products is undoubtedly the fact that they are deceptively similar to glass, and the production process itself is less harmful to the environment.

Let's take a look at wood…

Before proceeding to discuss the manufacturing process of wooden glazing, it is necessary to discuss the components of the wood. Therefore, wood consists of two basic components: lignin and cellulose. To find out what cellulose looks like, it is worth doing a test, which we will discuss in a moment. When we take a sheet of paper kitchen towel and look at it carefully, we can notice protruding fibers. This is the cellulose mentioned above. Lignin, on the other hand, is an adhesive whose task is to bind cellulose fibers together. We can boldly compare it to plastic resin made of glass and carbon fiber. Chromophores play an important role here. These are the molecules that give the wood its brown color. In other words, it is a dye, just like the chlorophyll in the leaves. The second function of the chromophore is to prevent the penetration of light.

How was the first wooden window made?

Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood, are created as a result of a breakneck process. Initially, in order to obtain the desired structure and transparency, manufacturers of wooden windows attempted to remove the lignin. Unfortunately, this operation was carried out at high temperatures and required the use of dangerous and toxic chemicals. It was also time consuming. The above factors generated high process costs and, unfortunately, resulted in low durability of the obtained material. Today, manufacturers use a much cheaper and easier technique and – interestingly – we can literally do it in our own backyard.

Wooden window today

To produce transparent wood today, scientists developed the following patent:

  • first, they lubricate a wooden board 1 meter long and 1mm thick with a solution of hydrogen peroxide with a brush;
  • leaving such boards in the sun or under a UV lamp for about an hour.

As a result of the above actions, we obtain bleaching of the chromophores, while the lignin remains unchanged. As a result, the wood becomes transparent. Then, the wood should be impregnated with epoxy resin, which will fill the pores in it and harden it.

A similar effect will be obtained when we submerge a paper towel halfway in water. When we put it on a colored surface, we will notice that it has become transparent. This is due to the diffuse light passing through the cellulose fibrils and water.

Wooden panes, i.e. glass made of wood and its advantages

W przeciwieństwie do tradycyjnych szyb, omawiane drewniane szyby są znacznie bardziej odporne na przypadkowe rozbicie. Ponadto drewno jest lżejsze od szkła, a także posiada znacznie bardziej skuteczne zdolności izolacyjne. Jest również ekologiczne, ponieważ do jego produkcji nie potrzeba tak wysokiej temperatury jak w przypadku zwykłego, tradycyjnego szkła.

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