Tian Li, a post-docgtorate student at the University of Maryland, has developed the nanowood material that could massively reduce waste on earth. The new material is not only stronger than Styrofoam, but also insulates better than Styrofoam and silica aerogels. The material will not cause the same lung irritations that fibers from glass wool insulators do and can be fabricated for an incredibly low cost. The hope is that nanowood will be used to create energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes.
To make the nanowood material, researches took wood and stripped away two natural components. The lignin, which gives wood its brown and rigid properties, and hemicellulose were stripped from the natural product and resulted in a white wood that was less able to conduct heat. The material gains its insulation abilities from the tubed structures found within the wood, and the stripping process allows these tubes to conduct less heat.
Image Credit: Hua Xie
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