Chinese researchers have produced fire-resistant, mildew-resistant wood composites that can sustain thousands of folds.
According to a research published recently in Cell Reports Physical Science, the wood substance, which is a kind of renewable natural resource, maintains long-term flexibility at minus 40 to 50 degrees Celsius and cannot be ignited by an open flame up to 400 to 500 degrees Celsius.
According to the research, the wood composites keep their original look for up to 75 days at room temperature with a relative humidity of around 90%, whereas the surface of untreated wood is fully infected by mildew.
To dissolve the hard lignin matrix from the cell wall, scientists from Hainan University and Southwest Minzu University submerged low-density balsa wood with a thickness of two to five millimeters in a combination of alkaline liquids at 100 degrees Celsius for 12 hours.
The wood was then filled with a polyacrylamide-based modified hydrogel, which gave the composites outstanding flexibility, moisture retention, and flame resistance.
The wood composites can also endure 1,000 folds with a 180-degree bending angle or vacuum dehydration at minus 60 degrees Celsius for 24 hours, according to the research.
According to the researchers, the easy-to-industrialize preparation procedure gave the wood composites the potential to be used in building, medical equipment, and stress sensors.