Recently, a materials research group at the University of Maryland in the United States pointed out in a paper published in the journal Nature that they have developed a simple method to make a piece of wood into an ultra-compact material. Hard as steel.
Wood is widely used, abundant in reserves and relatively inexpensive. For a long time, scientists have been trying to increase their strength to the level of metals, making them more useful. Compression of wood is one of the methods to increase its strength, but densified wood tends to have a weaker hardness. The University of Maryland researchers added a block of wood in sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite solution, then compressed the wood under high pressure and heated it to 100 degrees Celsius. In this case, the resulting material is 20% smaller, 3 times denser, and has many impressive features: 20 times the original hardness, and 50 times the original compressive strength. Sustained 11.5 times the tensile, as hard as steel, and lighter than steel. Compared with logs, it not only has stronger scratch resistance and impact resistance, but also resists moisture and can be molded into almost any shape during compression.
According to researchers, this dense wood can block bullets. In this study, stainless steel balls fired by air guns easily penetrated ordinary wood but did not penetrate the same thickness of treated wood.
The team said that this technology may bring a new kind of strong, lightweight wood material. This material can be used to replace steel in construction, to make lighter and better performing vehicles, and even to make bulletproof armor.