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Scientists Have Developed a Way to Make Wood as Strong as Steel

Scientists Have Developed a Way to Make Wood as Strong as Steel 86

Scientists have developed a new type of “super wood” that is more than 10 times stronger and tougher than normal wood – and this innovation could potentially become a natural and inexpensive substitute for steel and other materials.

Key to the new wood’s superpowers is a special chemical treatment followed by a heated compression process. The resulting chemical bonds make the wood strong enough to one day be used in buildings and vehicles.

It could even take a turn in new armour plating – the researchers fired bullet-like projectiles at their new super wood and found they got lodged in the material rather than blasting their way through, as they did with standard-strength wood.

“This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,” says senior researcher Liangbing Hu, from the University of Maryland.

“This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fibre, but much less expensive.”

“It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” adds another of the team, Teng Li from the University of Maryland.

“It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and moulded at the beginning of the process.”

The new process used here has two steps. First, natural wood is boiled in a mix of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphite, which is actually similar to the process made to create wood pulp for paper.

Next, the wood goes through a compression phase to collapse the walls between individual cells. Heat is added to encourage new chemical bonds while the wood continues to be compressed.

Those processes are able to strip out certain polymers to allow the new wood to reform while also keeping other polymers essential to the wood’s strength.

The strengthening ultimately comes from large numbers of hydrogen atoms bonding to nanofibres of cellulose, already naturally in the structure of the wood.

The chemical reactions are quite complex, but the procedure itself is actually pretty simple and inexpensive – and because wood literally grows on trees, it’s a promising option for replacing steel, titanium alloys, and other materials in certain situations.

The process has been shown to work on several different varieties of wood as well.

The finished super wood is strong, tough, and light, as we’ve already mentioned, but it’s also impressively dense, resistant to compression, hard and scratch-resistant, and even inherently protected against moisture.

As well as fitting it to aircraft and cars, the new super wood could also be used in furniture, allowing fast-growing woods like balsa or pine to replace denser but slower-growing options such as teak.

There’s a lot more work to do before you’ll see a wooden jumbo jet rolling down the runway though.

One of the next steps is to scale up and speed up the process of producing this new wood – though the researchers say that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

“It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to implement,” says engineering scientist Huajian Gao from Brown University in Rhode Island, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“The [published] paper provides a highly promising route to the design of lightweight, high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired.”

The research has been published in Nature.

Read More On This At ScienceAlert – Latest

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Bizzare & Odd

The mystery of the “Mandalorian” with a Jetpack flying behind a plane is revealed

The mystery of the “Mandalorian”    with a Jetpack flying behind a plane is revealed 87

Documents have been released revealing the secret of a man with a rocket pack who flew behind passenger planes, according to The Drive.

The owner of The Black Vault, John Greenewald, took advantage of the US Freedom of Information Act to secure the publication of material relating to the rocket pack incident. From the records of the air traffic controllers’ conversations, which he received, it follows that the man maneuvering at an altitude of about 900 meters was noticed by several pilots. At the same time, the radars did not record a single object that would correspond to their description.

It also turned out that in early September 2020, government officials contacted David Mayman, the chief tester of the California-based company Jetpack Aviation, which develops rocket packs. Meiman said that the company had not flown for several months, and questioned the existence of rocket packs that would allow them to climb and hold at an altitude of 900 meters.

Another letter provided to Greenwald mentions that the FBI interrogated an American Airlines pilot who spoke of a man with a jetpack. During the conversation, he confirmed that the figure he noticed resembled a drone in the form of a man from a video filmed at the German Aircraft Modeling Festival in 2019.

This is a radio-controlled drone that was built by model aircraft designer Ralph Kayser. It resembles a life-size human figure, but weighs less than five kilograms. The Rotor Drone Pro website wrote that the device is made from a paintball suit stuffed with packing film and can stay in the air for up to eight minutes.

The incident leading to the investigation took place on August 30, 2020. According to press reports, an unidentified person with a jetpack flew approximately 270 meters from an American Airlines plane landing at the Los Angeles airport. In October, the man with the rocket pack was reported by several other pilots in southern California.

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An abnormal phenomenon on Earth captured from space: NASA and ESA have never seen such lightning

An abnormal phenomenon on Earth captured from space: NASA and ESA have never seen such lightning 88

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) observatory has recorded five blue jets , an anomalous type of lightning that strikes from the top of a thundercloud into the stratosphere. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature.

On January 20, a video filmed from the International Space Station was posted on the channel of the European Space Agency, which puzzled all academics who study the atmosphere and build theories about how everything works there:

The 10 microsecond jets were sighted on February 26, 2019, near Nauru Island in the Pacific Ocean. One of the lightning flashes produced a jet that reached the stratopause – the boundary between the stratosphere and the ionosphere at an altitude of about 50 to 55 kilometers. In addition to the jets, “elves” were recorded, which are expanding rings of optical and ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere, lasting no more than a millisecond.

Electrical phenomena in the upper atmosphere are poorly understood and attract a lot of attention from physicists from around the world. They are short-lived and vary greatly with altitude. 

Blue jets occur during electrical breakdown between the positively charged top of a thundercloud and the negatively charged air layer above it. As a result, a leader is formed – a conducting channel of ionized air, through which the discharge propagates. However, in this case, the radiation from the leader was weak, which indicates that the leader itself was short compared to the conductive channels of conventional lightning.

The blue jets belong to streamers – branched filaments of electrical discharges, similar to those generated by Tesla coils. In addition, blue jets are more likely to occur as a phenomenon than previously thought.

Some of the most mysterious are the “elves”. Their name comes from the abbreviation ELVES , which stands for “Emission of Light and Very Low Frequency perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources.”. These phenomena reach four hundred kilometers in diameter and occur at an altitude of about one hundred kilometers. The list of optical phenomena associated with electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere does not end there. There are also TROLL , Pixie , Ghost, and Gnome , but their nature is even less understood. 

There is nothing like this, that is, such strange huge lightning has never been observed before. Something is happening in the Earth’s atmosphere, and it started quite recently. How it will end and what will result in – we do not know, since people living today have no such experience.

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Ancient asteroid sent dinosaur bones into moon

Ancient asteroid sent dinosaur bones into moon 89

The impact of the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago was so powerful that it sent into space huge volumes of earth’s soil and rocks from the crash site. But together with them, he could send into orbit the remains of living beings, including dinosaurs.

Such a possibility is discussed in the book “The End of the World” by the scientific journalist and winner of several awards Peter Brannen, according to the Daily Mail.

It is known that an asteroid or meteorite about 10 km in size collided with the Earth 66 million years ago, forming the Chikshulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. About 15 trillion tons of ash and soot were thrown into the air. Because of  this, during the day it was dark on Earth, like a moonlit night.

As a result of the lack of light in plants, photosynthesis slowed down, which could lead to a decrease in the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere. Temperatures on continents dropped by 28 ° C, in oceans by 11 ° C. The disappearance of phytoplankton has led to the extinction of zooplankton and other marine animals. Other species died after them. 

This is one of the largest mass extinctions in the history of the Earth, which is called the Cretaceous-Paleogene. Brannen, trying to make the numbers more descriptive, points out that the asteroid (or meteorite) was larger than Everest and crashed into the atmosphere 20 times faster than a flying bullet. At the same time, the pressure of the atmosphere was so strong that a crater in the Yucatan began to form even before the asteroid fell.

The “response” release of soil into the atmosphere occurred only within a second or two after the impact and was incredibly powerful.

“So there are probably little pieces of dinosaur bones on the moon,” Brannen suggests.

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