Windows and solar panels in the future could be made from one of the best — and cheapest — construction materials known: wood.
Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a transparent wood material that could change the way we construct buildings and solar panels. To create the transparent wood, researchers chemically removed lignin from samples of commercial balsa wood and added acrylic..
The new material is suitable for mass production, the researchers say, and is a low-cost renewable resource.
If used in the construction of homes and buildings, a transparent wood material has potential to improve indoor lighting, allowing natural light in through the walls. This could save on the costs of artificial lighting, and may even have use in solar cell windows. While this is not the first example of optically transparent wood, previous developments have focused on the study of wood anatomy on a microscopic level. Researchers say this new material has large scale applications. Panels of transparent wood could be used for windows or semi-transparent facades, to let light in while still maintaining privacy. And, its ‘haziness’ also gives it promise for solar cells, as it traps light, thus boosting efficiency of the cells.
Not sure if this is a good thing. More trees will need to be used. Yes, they are renewable but is it sustainable?
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