Scientists have created an artificial wood that is reportedly as strong as wood, but lacks its traditional weaknesses: fire and water.
The synthetic material, developed by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, was created by both extreme heat and freeze-drying. The resin was heated to temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit, forging strong chemical bonds. The solution was freeze-dried, yielding a structure filled with tiny pores and channels - strengthening the wood.
The resulting material is extremely strong, crush-resistant, and actively repels water. Scientists soaked samples in water and in a strong acid bath for 30 days, finding almost no loss of strength. Similarly-tested Balsa wood samples lost nearly 70 percent of their strength and 40 percent of their crush resistance.
Scientists also said the material was difficult to burn. It took a while to ignite, and when it finally did, it was extinguished right when it was removed from the flame.
Mixed with graphene, the material showed better thermal insulation than natural wood.
Scientists say the material is suitable for mass production and expect it to replace natural wood and be applied in extreme conditions.
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