Engineers Create Strong, Lightweight Metallic Wood | AIChE

Engineers Create Strong, Lightweight Metallic Wood


Wood is a ubiquitous building material, and for good reason — it is lightweight, strong, and readily available. Natural wood consists of porous carbon material, with pores organized in regular structures known as nanolattices.

This inherent structure gives natural wood its high strength and low density. Inspired by the strength and composition of wood, researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania (UPenn) have mimicked this regular arrangement of pores to achieve the same effect in metals. They call their novel material metallic wood.

The general process to make metallic wood begins with a colloidal suspension of plastic particles in water that will ultimately become the template. The suspension looks similar to milk, where each particle has a uniform size and surface charge.

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