University of Maryland researchers were able to fabricate two types of transparent wood through a process that involves chemically bleaching the color out of blocks and then pouring epoxy over the wood, which makes it four to five times stronger.
A similar technique to create clear wood was developed earlier by Swedish researchers, but the Maryland teams claims they’ve been able to make see-through blocks that are bigger and thicker. However, the process needs to be scaled up as it has only been done on five- by five-inch blocks with thicknesses ranging from paper thin to about a centimeter.
If that can be done, possible applications could include windows and optical equipment normally made with glass and plastic. Building materials, furniture and structural material applications for automobiles are other possibilities for a material that its creators claim is stronger and more insulating than glass and offers better biodegradability than plastic.