Scientists engineered a wood that gets stronger as it captures CO2

Despite being a renewable resource, wood takes a long time to develop and replenish itself, and human activities have already ravaged many woods. Engineered wood, a more environmentally friendly substitute composed of tiny sections of timber bonded together, uses less material than solid wood.

As a result, engineered timber has become a viable and ecologically responsible substitute for conventional construction materials. However, this wood's susceptibility to cracking and loss of structural stability reduces the amount of time it can last. A new type of timber has been created by researchers at Rice University in Texas that is stronger than its natural equivalent and reduces carbon pollution by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air.

a multiple-axis top-down approach

In order to combat climate change, humans must come up with combined ideas that transform existing procedures by making them sustainable. Engineered wood durability and carbon dioxide emissions are two problems that Rice University researchers have multifacetedly handled by creating a unique wood that has been infused with a substance that has a strong propensity for CO2.

The team used a top-down strategy to delignify wood, removing the color-giving components to create a layered, permeable structure. The high-performance absorbing substance known as Metal-Organic Framework was then introduced into the porous construction by immersing it in a fluid containing its tiny particles (MOF).

MOFs have a high attraction for the molecules of carbon dioxide. When it comes to efficiency and adaptability in a variety of environmental circumstances, the selected MOF, Calgary Framework 20 (CALF-20), outperforms its competitors.

By employing a top-down strategy, the researchers were able to produce a structure that closely resembles the natural structure of wood and made it simpler to incorporate the material all throughout the structure. The end product is a useful wood framework with great selectivity for CO2 over nitrogen and water vapor.

a less complicated and environmentally friendly procedure

The innovative enhanced wood structure can be used as a flexible support to implement CO2-capturing materials in a variety of uses in the lack of ecologically favorable and sustainable materials for CO2-capturing.

According to Rice University associate research professor of materials science and nanoengineering Muhammad Rehman, "Our method is easier and 'greener' in terms of both compounds used and processing byproducts."

The research team thinks this new kind of wood, which is readily made using current technologies, can be used in a variety of uses, from building to furniture making, as a more environmentally friendly substitute for conventional materials.

To comprehend the scalability and market feasibility of the new substance, the team intends to establish sequestration procedures and carry out a thorough economic analysis.

The research has been published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.