In Sweden there are three months ago a method found for the production of transparent wood, two months ago turned a team from Maryland another method before. Soon the transparent timber to be used as a glass substitute for window – the treated, transparent timber is crushproof and more stable than untreated, opaque – and who knows, what is being used in a the next few years. Fortunately, one does not have to wait for the wood industry, until it takes up the idea, Andrew Quitmeyer just a DIY instructions provided based at Instructables on the Papers online.
The basic idea is that wood can be thought of as two parts: Cellulose (Strong structural strings which are naturally clear) and Lignin (a sort of opaque glue that holds all those strong cellulose fibers together). If you can strip away the opaque (and non-structural) parts of the wood (the lignin) and replace it with clear epoxy, then you will have all the strength of the Cellulose fibers, but also be able to see through it!
In this way, you are making a composite material, much like fiberglass! One of the extra cool things about this, though, is that you are able to retain the existing structures formed by the way the wood grew, to theoretically make it extra strong and lightweight!
Make a bath from 1 liter water, 100 grams of NaOH, 50 grams of Na2SO3.
Put in wood and heat at a low temparature for 10 hours
Drain bath, rinse wood with water
Create new bath from 1 bottle of H2O2 and heat for 2 hours
Rinse and preserve in Rubbing Alcohol
Take wood from alcohol and place in epoxy
Vacuum the epoxy through the wood 3 times over 30 minutes
I would now like a skateboard in transparent wood. Go ahead, Sk8-Chemists!