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Super Wood

02/10/2018 10:55 PM

As you may have heard, 2 researchers at the University of Maryland have invented a way to make wood 10x stronger than steel. The process appears to be simple; just soak the wood in a chemical solution and then compress it under enormous pressure to 1/5 it's original size. They have suggested some uses for this new technology such as in aircraft and automobiles. This would be a good time to think up uses for it. My first would be in boat building. https://www.sciencealert.com/new-super-wood-stronger-than-steel

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#1

Re: Super wood

02/11/2018 1:00 AM

Yeah but how much $$ is it? Does that make it waterproof? If it's 10x stronger than steel, how do you cut it?

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#13
In reply to #1

Re: Super wood

02/12/2018 12:27 AM

With an 11 x stronger blade .

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#15
In reply to #1

Re: Super wood

02/12/2018 3:03 AM

Cut it before you compress it!

Easy!

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#2

Re: Super wood

02/11/2018 4:15 AM

Would make good flight arrows.
It's been done before without the addition of chemicals to toughen up wooden arrows.
Del

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#3

Re: Super wood

02/11/2018 5:27 AM

1/5 original size = 5x original density....

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Super wood

02/11/2018 11:42 AM

Yes but what kind of wood...? I'd like to see that with hard rock maple, it wood take some major tonnage...haha but then balsa wood, well I could do that with a pair of pliers...Wood hardener has been around for a long time, the problem has always been penetration, I always use thinner first then the hardener, but I've only used it a couple of times, and mostly to shore up a base for coating and as a water repellent...It seems to me some sort of vacuum chamber to force penetration would be needed....sounds expensive...

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#4

Re: Super wood

02/11/2018 11:30 AM

I saw the title and thought this was more spam for a male enhancing pill.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Super wood

02/11/2018 6:26 PM

I'll mark you OT when I quit laughing.

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#6

Re: Super Wood

02/11/2018 3:53 PM

Balsa wood? Now THAT would be something!

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Super Wood

02/11/2018 4:35 PM

I am going to order some balsa wood today, I already have the wood hardener....Suggestions on how to achieve 100% penetration wood be appreciated...pressure, vacuum, heat???....maybe just soak in a sealed container?

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Super Wood

02/11/2018 8:07 PM

Penetration will depend on viscosity of the solution, wood cell structure and cure time.

Technically, vacuum impregnation then pressure under heat cure. Heating the sealant first will further reduce viscosity, but reduce cure time.

The porosity of the wood is also a consideration.

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#11
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Re: Super Wood

02/11/2018 9:09 PM
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#10

Re: Super Wood

02/11/2018 8:20 PM

Ten time stronger... what does that really mean... and what properties does that give up.

if you gain something, you have to give up something.

one tends to gain tensile strength, but then lose ductility.

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#14
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Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 2:16 AM
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#12

Re: Super Wood

02/11/2018 11:23 PM

Curious..

As boat builder , wood worker etc, every attempt to increase density results in extra weight..

How does this compression not include the weight increase?

Makes aircraft and boat building moot, as there are other materials, along with carbon fibres , that are much more efficient..

Maybe I am missing something..?

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#16
In reply to #12

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 5:55 AM

It will be used for civil construction, e.g. buildings, bridges, where weight may not be so important

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#23
In reply to #16

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 1:12 PM

Good point.

I do remember touring the Aircraft Carrier, USS Forrester, and noted the wooden landing decks...It was mentioned that the give of the wood from repeated landings allowed the deck to remain viable longer than a steel structure. Not able to verify..

May have been a cost thing, or a supply problem at time of construction.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 1:49 PM

You are probably referring to the USS Forrestal, CV-59, in ordered in 1951, commissioned in 1955, decomissioned in 1993, and broken-up in 2014.

Aircraft carrier landing decks were typically wooden in that time-frame, in spite of (lessons-learnable) from the Battle of Midway, 1942...

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 1:59 PM

Actually, I was totally off. The ship I am referring to is the USS Hornet, that picked up the Apollo. Age does that, sometimes

Good tour, tho', in Alameda, with a caring staff that is still working on the maintenance and restoration.

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#27
In reply to #12

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 5:19 PM

Compression alone only increases density, not weight. But adding something to the mix like a chemical hardener will increase mass and weight.

For boatbuilding, the buoyant force is dependent upon the density of the displaced liquid, not the density of the hull material.

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#17

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 8:06 AM

Is it fireproof? Could it be used in home-building?

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#18

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 8:10 AM

How come no further developments on this in 10 years?

... so, this is 10x stronger than *natural wood*, and *as strong* as steel, and lighter than steel, and (supposedly) cheaper than carbon fiber.

  • "It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter."
  • "a specific strength higher than that of most structural metals and alloys, making it a low-cost, high-performance, lightweight alternative."
  • "It's also comparable [in strength] to carbon fibre, but much less expensive."

Other articles on this process:

Articles about another (similar) product:

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#26
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Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 2:24 PM

I read about the 'similar' product - acetylated wood. Not compressed is the big difference. Instead it doesn't shrink when it dries. It is as strong as "very dry wood" according to this article:

https://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i32/Making-Wood-Last-Forever-Acetylation.html

Very durable and dimensionally stable (100 yrs?). The technology has been around since the 30's but did not succeed in the marketplace in past attempts. May do better this time around, due to changes in the market, but still... very expensive cw the competition.

One significant drawback - have to use stainless steel fasteners because residual acetic acid will corrode standard products. So wood lasts but nails rot.

It's about as flammable as ordinary wood, may give off some acetic acid fumes though. Recyclable into other cellulose products.

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#19

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 8:11 AM

Now cross breed it with these species,.. and we may have something

I don't believe this is genetics, but created with a form....

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#32
In reply to #19

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 12:46 AM

Weird, but a far cry from the integral trees!

It's an audio book that some geek put on youtube, but not bad.

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 12:20 PM

About 30 years ago, in Readers digest I think, where it was growing square,... I think now by the looks of the grain pattern, I think there was some type of training or forms used.

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#36
In reply to #34

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 1:45 PM

or the picture is digitally modified... if that's the case... see Doorman's response.

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#35
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Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 12:49 PM

Never mind...

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#20

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 8:41 AM

What is the chemistry of the wood hardener solution? Does the processed wood rot? Or what kind of legacy does it leave as a material I wonder?

I also wonder if it will be 10X more expensive than steel. Compression to 1/5 of size is going to take some power! (Unless it's balsa of course! )

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#21

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 8:59 AM

It's fine, until some nerk tries to weld it.

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#22

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 12:03 PM

Also, how (termite)-resistant is it?...

Does it have a combustion-point higher, or lower, than that of steel?... Aluminum?...

When it does burn, what toxic chemicals are released?...

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#28

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 9:15 PM

Anybody that has worked with hardwoods knows how difficult it can be and how hard on saw blades it is....you can't drive a nail through it, it dulls blades so fast you can't believe it...so there is such a thing as too hard to work with....this then limits the market to niche level...and why 2x4's are pine and not oak...even pine hardens over time, try driving a nail in 30 year old pine...

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#29
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Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 11:06 PM

30 year old lumber may be harder because the trees grew more slowly. This is due to competition for sunlight in mature forests. The growth rings are narrow and the wood density is higher, even though the species is the same. Modern lumber is mostly produced in managed "farms" with controlled spacing of saplings and a faster growth to harvest.

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#33
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Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 4:27 AM

What if the pine was chopped down an in your yard for 30 years?

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#38
In reply to #33

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 1:53 PM

A pine tree that was cut down 30 years ago may have grown from a sapling in a mature forrest.

Maybe you can research the history of that property, or you could count the annual growth rings per inch in your heirloom and compare that to some contemporary lumber. Remember that most construction lumber is fir (unless labeled otherwise) and your wood should be compared to pine, not fir.

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#39
In reply to #33

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 2:14 PM

That would depend on where the tree was, and if it lay on the ground.

In most places where Pine trees grow, after 30 years the only thing left would be the heart wood, the super dense, resin rich inner part of the tree. The rest would have rotted or been eaten by bugs.

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#43
In reply to #39

Re: Super Wood

03/27/2018 10:33 PM

So we are talking about the difference between a 30 year old pine (growing time), chopped down and used instantly versus a pine tree (unknown growth time) chopped down and aged for 30 years before approaching it with a nail, saw, drill and so forth.

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: Super Wood

02/13/2018 5:48 AM

When I was about 14-15 years old, made some furniture (stereo cabine) in shop class at school, we had rough sawn oak at home that my dad said I could use. Had it when my dad was a kid, so it was at least 40 years old.

Whether it was sawing or planing it down, I had to take smaller cuts, because it literal drew the motor down. Shop instructor came over, and ask what the hell I was doing, and I explained to him and where I got the wood. He inspected the wood and shook his head because it was so hard,... like it was petrified.

My shop teacher was very well versed, he wrote quite a few woodworking books for Sears (craftsman). He was also a golden glove boxer.

Anyways, the grain looked like oak,.., but could have been hickory also. That was over 40 years ago,... still have that cabinet.

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#37
In reply to #28

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 1:53 PM

Or 30 year old oak,mahogany, or Eucalyptus

Not even counting the exotic Brazilian hardwoods, such as Mangarus

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#41
In reply to #37

Re: Super Wood

02/15/2018 7:52 AM

Add Teak to that list.

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#30

Re: Super Wood

02/12/2018 11:45 PM

The article didn't mention that the lignin content must reduced by about half through the use of caustic chemicals and/or solvents.

Engineered Lumber: Logs are rotated and shaved to produce veneer sheets, cut into strips, glued, stacked to produce layers of highly parallel fibers, heated and compressed into beams or pillars.

This new process sounds like it could produce the next version of engineered lumber. By preprocessing the veneer with chemicals, use of glue resins are eliminated since the remaining lignin is reactive.

The next step would be to greatly increase pressure during laminating.

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#40
In reply to #30

Re: Super Wood

02/14/2018 3:01 PM

Removing the lignin to make more durable wood... that surprised me a lot. Since lignins are the hardest thing to break down, and keeps natural wood from rotting in a hurry.

Both of the processes described in this thread use chemicals - acid or base - to partly break down lignin and hemicellulose, leaving mostly cellulose to work on in the next steps.

I wonder if they could skip the first step, and just use the chemistry to make really strong straw.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Super Wood

02/15/2018 8:03 AM

I wonder if they could skip the first step, and just use the chemistry to make really strong straw.

We make liquid smoke where we decompose the smoke through pyrolysis and break it down further into individual compounds using a wiped film evaporated.

With lignin being a complex polymer and large part of making liquid smoke but eventual goes to a waste product as tar, which we then use as fuel.

And now to your question, the answer is yes, but the energy input would not make it financially feasible, at least at this point in technology.

and also btw,... lignin is a binder that gives the strength of holding (binding with cross-linked between the different plant polysaccharides) the cells together

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