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Can’t see the wood for the trees.


If we said your windows might soon be made out of wood, you’d think yeah come on guys, stop taking the piss. But hold your rocking horses because this may not be as ridiculous as it sounds. Obviously, we’re not talking about sticking a big old plank of it where your glass was and calling it a window, or covering it in tracing paper and sort of seeing what might be outside. An actual, see-through material, produced from wood, that is an alternative to glass or plastics. Oh, my days! But what’s wrong with using glass in windows, like we’ve always bloody done? Well, glass is great in many ways, you can see through it for one, which is kind of the point of windows, and when it’s toughened it can give structural support. What it isn’t very good at is keeping heat inside, that’s why we have double glazing. And houses lose a good amount of its heat through its windows. Wood on the other hand is very good at insulating, but is annoyingly not see-through, making it a bit shit for spying on your neighbours.


However, researchers at the University of Maryland may have found a breakthrough. By brushing Hydrogen Peroxide, the stuff that you use to bleach your hair, onto the wood and then activating it by shining light on it, unsurprisingly you get bleached white wood, like paper. But hold on, paper isn’t see through either. This is because of tiny holes and pores in the wood which scatter the light, however, filling in these tiny gaps with a resin can help to stop this scattering and create a transparent wood. Some further work needs to be done to see if this process can be scaled up to meet the demands of modern society at a competitive price. But it’s not inconceivable that soon we’ll be watching the world go by through our wooden windows.


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