Stronger than aluminum, a heavily altered wood cools passively

Image of a white plank.

Enlarge / A look at the
lignin-free compressed wood. (credit: University of Maryland)

Most of our building practices aren’t especially sustainable.
Concrete production is a major source of carbon emissions, and
steel production is very resource intensive. Once completed,
heating and cooling buildings becomes a major energy sink. There
are various ideas on how to handle each of these issues, like
variations on concrete’s chemical formula or passive cooling
schemes.

But now, a large team of US researchers has found a single
solution that appears to manage everything using a sustainable
material that both reflects sunlight and radiates away excess heat.
The miracle material? Wood. Or a form of wood that’s been treated
to remove one of its two main components.

With the grain

Wood is mostly a composite of two polymers. One of these,
cellulose, is made by linking sugars together into long chains.
That cellulose is mixed with a polymer called lignin, which is not
really a single polymer. The precise chemical formula of its
starting material can vary among species, and it typically contains
multiple places where chemical bonds can form, turning the polymer
into a chaotic but extremely robust mesh.

Read 12
remaining paragraphs

Source: FS – All – Science – News
Stronger than aluminum, a heavily altered wood cools passively