Connect with us

Science

Scientists develop transparent wood that is stronger and lighter than glass – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Researchers at the University of Maryland have turned ordinary sheets of wood into transparent material that is nearly as clear as glass, but stronger and with better insulating properties. It could become an energy efficient building material in the future.

Wood is made of two basic ingredients: cellulose, which are tiny fibres, and lignin, which bonds those fibres together to give it strength.

Tear a paper towel in half and look closely along the edge. You will see the little cellulose fibres sticking up. Lignin is a glue-like material that bonds the fibres together, a little like the plastic resin in fibreglass or carbon fibre. The lignin also contains molecules called chromophores, which give the wood its brown colour and prevent light from passing through.

Early attempts to make transparent wood involved removing the lignin, but this involved hazardous chemicals, high temperatures and a lot of time, making the product expensive and somewhat brittle. The new technique is so cheap and easy it could literally be done in a backyard.

Starting with planks of wood a metre long and one millimetre thick, the scientists simply brushed on a solution of hydrogen peroxide using an ordinary paint brush. When left in the sun, or under a UV lamp for an hour or so, the peroxide bleached out the brown chromophores but left the lignin intact, so the wood turned white.

Researchers demonstrated after brushing a coat of hydrogen peroxide on the opaque wood material, and exposing it to one hour of sunlight, it turns transparent. (Qinqin Xia, University of Maryland/Science Advances)

Next, they infused the wood with a tough transparent epoxy designed for marine use, which filled in the spaces and pores in the wood and then hardened. This made the white wood transparent.

You can see a similar effect by taking that same piece of paper towel, dip half of it in water and place it on a patterned surface. The white paper towel will become translucent with light passing through the water and cellulose fibres without being scattered by refraction.

The epoxy in the wood does an even better job, allowing 90 per cent of visible light to pass through. The result is a long piece of what looks like glass, with the strength and flexibility of wood.

A researcher holds up a square of transparent wood material against a green leaf. (USDA Forest Service)

As window material, it would be much more resistant to accidental breakage. The clear wood is lighter than glass, with better insulating properties, which is important because windows are a major source of heat loss in buildings. It also might take less energy to manufacture clear wood because there are no high temperatures involved.

Transparent wood could become an alternative to glass in energy efficient buildings, or perhaps coverings for solar panels in harsh environments. There could be no end of uses.

Many different types of wood, from balsa to oak, can be made transparent, and it doesn’t matter if it is cut along the grain or against it. If the transparent wood is made a little thicker, it would be strong enough to become part of the structure of a building, so there could be entire transparent wooden walls.

While this technology has yet to  be scaled up to industrial levels, the researchers say it has great potential as a new building material. In fact, they say that theoretically, an entire house could be made transparent. It is not clear why anyone would want to live in a transparent house, but for people who do, it would be OK to throw stones…

A researcher holds up a 10-centimetre long slab of the see-through wood. (Qinqin Xia, University of Maryland/Science Advances)

Images copyright Xia et al. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Orbiting spacecraft spots Nasa’s Mars Rover in huge crater on planet surface – Yahoo Canada Sports

Published

 on


The orbiting craft spotted Perseverance on the surface (ESA)

An orbiting European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft has spotted Nasa’s Perseverance Rover on the surface of Mars – along with its parachute, heat shield and descent stage.

The rover was pictured in the Jezero Crater, a 28-mile-wide depression containing sediments of an ancient river delta.

It was spotted by the ESA-Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter, which captured the Rover and the components using its CaSSIS camera on 23 February.

The rover landed on Mars on 18 February.

Read more: What are fast radio bursts, and why do they look like aliens?

Perseverance will explore the Jezero Crater region of Mars, and will also collect and cache samples of Martian rocks and soil for subsequent missions to collect and return to Earth as part of the joint ESA-Nasa Mars Sample Return campaign.

The Trace Gas Orbiter helped to return the videos and imagery taken by the mission’s onboard cameras during the descent of the rover to the surface of Mars, by providing a data relay. 

Nasa’s rover blasted off from Earth last July.

The orbiter spotted components spread over the landscape (ESA)The orbiter spotted components spread over the landscape (ESA)

The orbiter spotted components spread over the Martian landscape. (ESA)

The rover – a scientific laboratory the size of a car – will spend the coming years scouring for signs of ancient microbial life in a mission that will prepare the way for future human visitors.

Scientists know that 3.5 billion years ago Jezero was the site of a large lake, complete with its own delta.

Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

They believe that while the water may be long gone, somewhere within the crater, or maybe along its 2,000-foot-tall (610-metre) rim, there could be evidence that life once existed.

Last month, British astronaut Major Tim Peake urged Britons to apply for jobs as astronauts as the ESA recruits space explorers for the first time since 2008.

The new astronauts will first fly to the International Space Station – and are likely to be part of missions to the moon in the latter part of this decade.

Successful applicants will be subjected to intensive training, which includes a three-week course in caving and a course in geology (there are more details on how to apply here).

Major Peake said: “Over the next few years and decades, space exploration will become even more exciting as we travel back to the moon and even further to Mars.

“For space missions to succeed, they require highly motivated people from diverse backgrounds to combine their skills and work as a team.

Read more: There might once have been life on the moon

“The next generation of UK citizens have so much to offer the world, and so I would encourage anyone who has dreamt of pushing the boundaries of what is possible to take this opportunity to be part of ESA’s future cohort of space pioneers.”

British citizens of any age are invited to apply, and the ESA is also issuing a special call for candidates with physical disabilities to apply to its astronaut reserve.

The pilot project aims to open the astronaut career path to people who have previously been excluded from space flight.

Those with a lower-limb deficiency or who are considered to be of short stature and meet other recruitment criteria are invited to apply.

Watch: Perseverance Rover sends back first images

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Orbiting spacecraft spots Nasa’s Mars Rover in huge crater on planet surface – Yahoo Movies Canada

Published

 on


The orbiting craft spotted Perseverance on the surface (ESA)

An orbiting European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft has spotted Nasa’s Perseverance Rover on the surface of Mars – along with its parachute, heat shield and descent stage.

The rover was pictured in the Jezero Crater, a 28-mile-wide depression containing sediments of an ancient river delta.

It was spotted by the ESA-Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter, which captured the Rover and the components using its CaSSIS camera on 23 February.

The rover landed on Mars on 18 February.

Read more: What are fast radio bursts, and why do they look like aliens?

Perseverance will explore the Jezero Crater region of Mars, and will also collect and cache samples of Martian rocks and soil for subsequent missions to collect and return to Earth as part of the joint ESA-Nasa Mars Sample Return campaign.

The Trace Gas Orbiter helped to return the videos and imagery taken by the mission’s onboard cameras during the descent of the rover to the surface of Mars, by providing a data relay. 

Nasa’s rover blasted off from Earth last July.

The orbiter spotted components spread over the landscape (ESA)The orbiter spotted components spread over the landscape (ESA)

The orbiter spotted components spread over the Martian landscape. (ESA)

The rover – a scientific laboratory the size of a car – will spend the coming years scouring for signs of ancient microbial life in a mission that will prepare the way for future human visitors.

Scientists know that 3.5 billion years ago Jezero was the site of a large lake, complete with its own delta.

Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

They believe that while the water may be long gone, somewhere within the crater, or maybe along its 2,000-foot-tall (610-metre) rim, there could be evidence that life once existed.

Last month, British astronaut Major Tim Peake urged Britons to apply for jobs as astronauts as the ESA recruits space explorers for the first time since 2008.

The new astronauts will first fly to the International Space Station – and are likely to be part of missions to the moon in the latter part of this decade.

Successful applicants will be subjected to intensive training, which includes a three-week course in caving and a course in geology (there are more details on how to apply here).

Major Peake said: “Over the next few years and decades, space exploration will become even more exciting as we travel back to the moon and even further to Mars.

“For space missions to succeed, they require highly motivated people from diverse backgrounds to combine their skills and work as a team.

Read more: There might once have been life on the moon

“The next generation of UK citizens have so much to offer the world, and so I would encourage anyone who has dreamt of pushing the boundaries of what is possible to take this opportunity to be part of ESA’s future cohort of space pioneers.”

British citizens of any age are invited to apply, and the ESA is also issuing a special call for candidates with physical disabilities to apply to its astronaut reserve.

The pilot project aims to open the astronaut career path to people who have previously been excluded from space flight.

Those with a lower-limb deficiency or who are considered to be of short stature and meet other recruitment criteria are invited to apply.

Watch: Perseverance Rover sends back first images

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Mission Successful: XOS Optics Land on Mars with NASA's 2020 Perseverance Rover – Stockhouse

Published

 on


ALBANY, N.Y. , March 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — There was a sense of cheer in the air the afternoon of February 18 th , 2021, as a successful mission to Mars has just been accomplished by NASA’s Perseverance Rover. With millions watching the event via live stream, Perseverance touched down in the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater at 3:56 pm Eastern Time .

XOS, a technology company based out of East Greenbush, New York , proudly plays a role in the mission, supplying the rover’s custom polycapillary X-ray focusing optics. A micro-XRF (micro-X-ray fluorescence) instrument on the Perseverance, called PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), is mounted at the end of the rover’s robotic arm and houses the XOS optic. This instrument will be used in conjunction with a camera system to measure compositions of various chemical elements in rocks, soils, and more on Mars, and along with six other scientific instruments on the rover, it will work to search for – and hopefully discover – evidence of past life on Mars.

In addition to the application of elemental mapping, as in the case of seeking evidence of past life on Mars, Micro-XRF is also used in applications such as plating thickness, forensics, and cultural heritage. Its non-destructive nature and minimal sample preparation make it ideal for sensitive elemental analysis applications. The use of polycapillary X-ray optics has dramatically changed the analytical speed of micro-XRF analysis, supplying accurate and reliable measurement results in hours, as compared to the days-long wait of more conventional approaches.

Visit xos.com/mars2020 for more information on micro-XRF, polycapillary optics, and XOS’ part in Perseverance’s mission.

About XOS

XOS is a global leading provider of advanced optics and OEM sub-systems that greatly improve the measurement speed, precision, and sensitivity of X-ray analytical instrumentation. XOS’ polycapillary optics can be used in many applications, including plating thickness, forensics, cultural heritage, and elemental mapping. fleX-Beam™, our latest compact X-ray generator solution, combines a low-powered X-ray source and precisely aligned polycapillary optic to deliver a bright X-ray beam for advanced material analysis. The innovative optic mounting and alignment design enables an easy X-ray tube and/or optic replacement, making it a user-friendly tool for both OEMs and end users.

www.xos.com

View original content: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mission-successful-xos-optics-land-on-mars-with-nasas-2020-perseverance-rover-301237525.html

SOURCE XOS

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending