Blades can be made from hardened wood and nails are stronger than steel
Scientists from the University of Maryland have created a new type of material, which they called “hardened wood”. At its core, it is simply processed cellulose, the proportion of which in wood is 40-50% – scientists have removed the excess and subjected the substance to special treatment. At the output, they got a material that surpasses even steel in a number of parameters.
Cellulose itself is stronger than many metals, polymers and ceramics, but in wood its properties are reduced due to the presence of lignin and hemicellulose. The first component is removed chemically, after which the material is pressed with heating. This allows you to evaporate and squeeze out the remaining moisture, which gives the cellulose incredible strength. However, it is still vulnerable to water and may swell again, so after quenching, the workpiece is impregnated with mineral oil.
From the resulting plate, scientists cut out the blade of a kitchen knife and several nails. The knife turned out to be 23 times stronger than its wooden counterpart, and its tip kept sharpening three times longer than a steel blade. Thanks to the mineral impregnation, such a knife can be used for cutting any products and even washed in a dishwasher. As for the nails, they did not blunt, even when they knocked together several boards. And what is very important – such nails are not afraid of rust.
At the moment, the production of tempered wood cannot be called energy efficient, but in the future it may become so. And then it will be possible to create wooden dishes and cutlery instead of ceramic and metal ones with much lower costs. It is an environmentally friendly natural material.