Wood has been the building block of some of the world’s greatest architectural feats for thousands of years.
As architects and engineers look for more sustainable, green materials to build with — new research has brought the material back into the limelight, in an entirely unexpected way.
Over the past year, scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park have worked to develop a superior, transparent version of wood.
The “invisible” wood — as Dr. Liangbing Hu of the University’s Department of Material Science and Engineering describes it — is sturdier than traditional wood, and can be used in place of less environmentally friendly materials, such as plastics.
And in a world where modern urban architecture relies heavily on the use of glass and steel, replacing these materials with transparent, biodegradable wood could revolutionize design concepts — as well as reduce heating costs and help to lower fuel consumption. […]