There's Now Transparent Wood That's Stronger Than Glass, Thanks to Science

There's Now Transparent Wood That's Stronger Than Glass, Thanks to Science
Source: AP
Source: AP

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks. Unless your glass house is actually invisible wood.

Scientists just invented transparent wood that is stronger than glass, Engadget reported. 

Researchers at the University of Maryland developed this see-through wood by boiling regular wood in water and chemicals, which flushes out the molecule that gives wood its color, Engadget reported. Epoxy is then poured over the wood block to make it four to five times stronger. 

"These wood composites are highly transparent with a total transmittance up to 90%, but exhibit dramatically different optical and mechanical properties," the project abstract reads. 

Looking at the image included with the project, the see-through wood is certainly transparent, but not crystal clear. As it stands, the clarity seems equivalent to your vision after you've had one too many drinks — a little blurry.

There is also a limitation to how much transparent wood can be produced — according to Engadget, the researchers have only been able to apply this technique to wood blocks that are 5-by-5 inches in dimension and about as thin as paper to as thick as a centimeter — arguably a fitting size for a smartphone screen. Maybe wooden phones are going to be the next hot thing?

Once the researchers can figure out how to scale this see-through wood to larger proportions, the future for wood is clear. Literally. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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