Scientists Develop Transparent Wood by Removing Lignin

Posted on May 23, 2016

Transparent Wood

Researchers from the University of Maryland have developed transparent wood. The molecule lignin was removed from the wood. Lignin makes the wood rigid and dark in color.

Removing the lignin left colorless cellulose cell structures behind which the researchers filled with epoxy. The scientists say the resulting wood composites are highly transparent with a total transmittance up to 90% but they exhibit dramatically different optical and mechanical properties.

CNN reports that the scientists think the transparent wood composites could be used as a substitute material to glass. It would absorb more light if placed in front of a solar cell.

The research team was led by Materials scientist Liangbing Hu. Hu told CNN, "If you place the transparent wood in front of a solar cell, the amount of light absorbed will be higher, and efficiency can increase up to 30%."

A research paper on the wood was published here in the journal, Advanced Materials.

Photo: University of Maryland