A new sustainable wood material created for construction also captures CO2.
Despite being a renewable resource, wood takes a long time to grow and replace itself, and human activities have already ravaged many forests. Engineered wood, a more environmentally friendly substitute made of smaller pieces of wood bound together, uses less wood than solid wood.
As a result, engineered wood has become a viable and environmentally responsible substitute for conventional building materials. However, this wood’s susceptibility to warping and loss of structural integrity reduces the amount of time it can last.
A new type of wood has been created by researchers at Rice University in Texas that is stronger compared to its natural counterpart and reduces carbon emissions by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air.
A carbon capture breakthrough.https://t.co/LCxfYi3xgv
— Interesting Engineering (@IntEngineering) February 20, 2023
Sustainable Wood that Captures CO2
To combat climate change, humans must come up with integrated concepts that transform current procedures by making manufacturing sustainable. Engineered wood durability and the manufacturing process carbon dioxide emissions are two problems that Rice University researchers have multifacetedly addressed by creating a unique wood that has been infused with a substance that has a strong affinity for CO2.
The team used a top-down strategy to delignify wood, removing the color-giving components to create a hierarchical, porous structure. The high-performance absorbing substance known as Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) was then infused into the porous structure by soaking it in a solution that has the said microparticles.
MOFs have a high affinity for the molecules of carbon dioxide. When it comes to performance and adaptability in a variety of environmental conditions, Calgary Framework 20 (CALF-20), which is the chosen MOF, 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 throughout the structure. The result is a useful wood structure with high selectivity for CO2 over water vapor and nitrogen.
The new enhanced wood structure can serve as a flexible support to activate CO2-capturing content in various applications in the absence of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials for CO2-capturing.
Muhammad Rahman, a Rice University assistant professor, said that their process is simpler and ‘greener’ in terms of both substances used and processing byproducts. Rahman specialized in nanoengineering and materials science.
The research team thinks this new kind of wood, which is easily produced using current technologies, can be used in a variety of applications, from building to furniture making, as a more environmentally friendly substitute for conventional materials.
To understand the commercial viability, as well as the scalability of the new material, the team plans to define sequestration methodologies and conduct a thorough economic analysis, Interesting Engineering reports.
The research by Rahman and his colleagues has been published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.
Unlike any other wood available, sustainable wood was legally obtained and gathered in a manner that safeguarded not only the wood itself but also the forest’s other trees, waterways, wildlife, and environment. Sustainability also refers to harvesting timber in a manner that upholds the rights of local indigenous people for wood brought into the country from other nations.
According to Hunker, a sustainable lumbering practice ensures that forests regenerate by planting new seedlings more quickly than trees are cut down.
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