Home / News / World /  Transparent wood: Eco-friendly alternative one of most ‘promising replacements’ for plastic

Transparent wood holds potential as an eco-friendly alternative to glass or plastic used to create biomedical equipment, see-through packaging, and automotive windshields, according to a study.

Transparent wood is created by eliminating the lignin content of wood and substituting it with transparent, plastic materials. It was first created in 1992 by German scientist Siegfried Fink and has subsequently been refined by other researchers. In contrast to plastics, lignin is a naturally occurring biopolymer that supports plant tissue and is non-toxic.

The amount of single-use plastic that is currently used and then wasted globally amounts to over 400 million tonnes per year. One of the most promising replacement materials for the future is translucent wood, which is now appearing, according to the UN Environment Program.

The majority of the time, tiny slices of wood are used to create transparent wood, which is stronger than conventional wood but lighter in weight. It is a distinctive bio-based substrate with a wide range of applications due to the potential for incorporating specialised materials to impart diverse and advanced features.

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Prodyut Dhar, a study author and assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology's biochemical engineering department, claimed that transparent wood can take the place of petroleum-based plastics that are harmful to the environment, such as polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylic, polyethylene, and so on, reported phys.org.

The study, which was published in the journal Science of The Total Ecosystem, claimed that translucent wood's renewable and biodegradable qualities helped it have fewer negative ecological effects on the environment. Additionally, it is claimed to be cost-effective because it is five times more efficient than glass, considerably reducing energy costs.

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The authors claim that the manufacturing of transparent wood using sodium chlorite to remove lignin and epoxy penetration has far less of an impact on the environment than approaches that typically employ methacrylate polymer.

Glass, which is naturally fragile, is replaced with plastic. However, the life-cycle research revealed that translucent wood is an even more advantageous substitute from an ecological standpoint, according to Dhar.


Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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