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

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

Strange Sounds Recorded Coming from Greenland’s Skies 

A YouTube user (‘Finn Enoksen’) shared video clip of strange sounds he recorded that seemed to come from the skies over Greenland on January 4th:

“I hear that strange sound like for 1hour but sometimes it silence for 5 or 10 minute, it little bit hard to heard because that strange sound is not loud.”

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Bizzare & Odd

Creepy Unsolved Murder Mysteries

The boy in the chimney

In 2008, teenager Josh Maddux left the house where he lived with his dad to run an errand. He disappeared, and seven years later, his remains were found in the fetal position, stuffed into the chimney of a nearby historic cabin. His body, devoid of wounds, showed no signs of a struggle. As The Huffington Post reported, “When the teen’s skeleton was found, his knees reportedly were above his head and a hand was covering his face.”

The strangest details were slowly released to the public in the following weeks. Maddux’s had been clothed only in a thermal undershirt, and the rest of his clothes were lying on the floor inside the cabin. Construction workers confirmed that rebar on the chimney’s opening meant he would not have been able to climb down, so he must have been trying to climb up.

To make matters worse, an anonymous Reddit post later detailed a rumor that Maddux had been coerced by a friend who went on to become a serial killer.

Hannah Upp’s Disappearances

As chronicled in a New Yorker exposé, 23-year-old Pennsylvania resident Hannah Upp has led a life peppered with disappearances. Seemingly without a direct cause, Upp enters a fugue state and disappears off the grid, cutting off communication with her friends and family, and after a while, she’s often found near water.

Doctors diagnosed Upp with “a diagnosis of dissociative fugue, a rare condition in which people lose access to their autobiographical memory and personal identity, occasionally adopting a new one, and may abruptly embark on a long journey.” She disappeared again last year and her belongings were found near the ocean on St. Thomas — the strangest thing about her case is the fact that her parents seem apathetic, or mystical, even, when asked about their missing daughter by the press.

Kathy Hobbs Predicts Her Own Death

The kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Kathy Hobbs is so odd that it was featured on an episode of the cult classic series Unsolved Mysteries.

After her death in 1987, Hobbs’ parents and friends disclosed that all her life, Hobbs had suffered from “premonitions” that foreshadowed her death at 16. In her teen years, she developed agoraphobia and refused to leave the house, but on her sixteenth birthday she believed the curse had been broken — or, so say her family and friends. Just three months later, she was attacked coming home from buying a paperback novel and murdered with blunt force trauma to the head.

In 1989, a Toledo man named Michael Lee Lockhart was charged and convicted with Hobbs’ murder, though Lockhart never confessed. The internet is divided on whether Lockhart actually shot Hobbs, but the real point of contention is the young woman’s premonitions. Why was she able to predict a seemingly random act of violence?

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Bizzare & Odd

More mysterious electrical sky events over Dublin, Juarez and amazing explosions in Kenner, Louisiana

Strange Sounds
Mysterious sky phenomena occur in Dublin, Ireland, Kenner, Louisiana and Queens, NYC.

On the same day as the sky lit up with mysterious blue light over Queens, NYC, powerful electrical explosions also occurred in Kenner, Louisiana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Two days after, something really weird occurred over Dublin, Ireland. It seems to be a widespread electrical phenomenon. Are they all linked? Like to a geomagnetic storm or something similar going on in space? Or are these phenomena all more grounded like the mystery behind “Project Blue Beam.”

Anyone know what the light show over Dublin is? Could it be a geomagnetic storm?

This next video was recorded on December 29, 2018, around 8:45 in Drimnagh, Dublin. Here the Youtube video:

Or can these light source be caused by something more grounded? Such as the mystery behind the so called top secret “Project Blue Beam.”

The following video was recorded in Dublin on December 29, 2018:

Here a summary and discussion of both sky phenomena:

Electrical explosions in Kenner, Louisiana

A video captured by Giovanni Bommarito show the dramatic moment of multiple electrical explosions in Kenner, triggering power outages for more than 10,000 customers on December 27, 2018:

Wind gusts in the New Orleans area reached as high as 51 MPH overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning.

Coincidentally this event occurred on the same day as the sky lit up with mysterious blue light over Queens, NYC:

Strange explosion and object in Ciudad Juarez

electrical phenomena Juarez mexico

© The Juarez Times/Facebook

There are definitely odd things happening on the planet. Perhaps these incidents are related ‘electrically’ in part to the ‘grounding’ of our Solar System?

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