Photo by University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei
Scientists are at it again - this time developing a lightweight artificial wood that's corrosion resistant and fire retardant. 
 
Developed by a Chinese research team at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei (USTC), the wood combines two types of resin - giving it a cellular structure similar to natural wood, but natural and stronger.
 
The artificial wood is resistant to corrosion, insulates heat, and is fire-retardant, according to a study by lead researcher Yu Shuhong in the online scientific journal Science Advances.
 
Studies have been positive. The material does not deteriorate after being immersed in water or sulfuric acid. Mixed with graphene, the material showed better thermal insulation than natural wood.
 
The material is suitable for mass production - easily combined with nanomaterials to produce composite artificial woods. Shuhong said he expects the wood to replace natural wood and be applied in extreme conditions.
 
Wood-based materials and super materials seem to be a growing trend. One involves the marine tunicate, an exotic sea invertebrate often used in Asian cuisine, which has been combined with wood pulp to form a new composite material that's flexible, sustainable, non-toxic, and UV light-reflective. The material could be used in construction, food packaging, biomedical devices, cars, trucks, and boats, say researchers.
 
Another, from University of Maryland scientists, is ten times stronger than regular wood and has an equal strength of steel, but is six times lighter. And yet another, from Swedish inventors, is reportedly stronger than spider silk.

Also derived from wood are sticky tapefood wrap, and car tires. What's next?

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