University of Maryland Nanocenter
Robots & Machines

Scientists Invent Transparent Windows Made out of Wood

When turning a tree into a window isn't magic.

Scientists have introduced us to a variety of revolutionary technologies in developing windows — windows made from rubbery polymer, solar panel transparent windows, and smart windows of all sorts — we might think we’ve seen it all.

But a team of researchers in the University of Maryland (UMD), led by materials scientist Liangbing Hu, has something new to offer: a see-through window made out of wood.

Source: University of Maryland Energy Research Center
Source: University of Maryland Energy Research Center

The see-through-wood window — compared to glass — is cooler (according to its creators), stronger, as it is less likely to break or shatter, distributes light evenly preventing glare, and is a better insulator against heat.

The method for creating the transparent wood starts with bleaching the wood to remove lignin — a component in the wood that gives it the color brown, but also, its resilience. In order to restore its strength, the wood is then soaked in clear epoxy. The result is a very hard and see-through wood.

The next challenge for the scientists is to upsize the material to a proper-sized window, but Tian Li, postdoctoral researcher at UMD said in a statement that there is no reason the approach couldn’t be scaled up to create a proper-sized window, as long as the new-age glazier has a big enough container to treat the material.

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