Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Tucson

Techno Timber: Artificial Wood Resists Fire and Water

Dragonskydrive/Shutterstock.com

A new, lightweight synthetic wood has been created that is as strong as wood, but without its traditional vulnerability to fire and water, as reported by Shu-Hong Yu, a materials chemist at the University of Science and Technology of China, in Hefei, and the author of a study published in Science Advances. It’s made of polymer resin and chitosan, a sugar polymer derived from the shells of shrimp and crabs. Adding human-made or natural fibers to the mix could also help.

The new material does not require years to grow and repels water; samples soaked in water and a strong acid bath for 30 days scarcely weakened, while balsa wood lost two-thirds of its strength and 40 percent of its crush resistance. The new material is also difficult to ignite, and stopped burning when it was removed from the flame. Its porosity creates an air-trapping capacity that could make it suitable as an insulation for buildings, but eco-friendly alternatives to the polymer resins are needed to broaden interest in its utility.


This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Presented by Transformational Medicine
Show us your best shot of summer in Tucson! Enter our Photo Challenge from July 1-15. The top 5 photos will be voted on by our readers and online friends from August 1-15. The winning photo will be featured in our September issue, and the photographer will win a $40 La Botana Mexican Restaurant gift certificate, plus a $100 certificate to a local business of your choice!
Sponsored By
Join Our Email Newsletter

COMING IN PRINT: 2020 AUGUST Issue
Due Date: July 10. Be a part of our upcoming August issue. Contact [email protected] for cheerful and efficient help with your marketing!
Missed the print deadline? Try email news!

Email News Exclusives with Social Media pushes; ask us about it today! [email protected]

Visit Us on Facebook
2020 Editorial Calendar

Interview with Stephen Dinan of The Shift Network
Eat More Citrus for a Thinner Waistline
COVID Kids: Stress Can Impact Sperm and Future Offspring