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Smartphone displays of the future might be made of transparent wood

Smartphone displays of the future may be made of wood
It’s magic fairytale time, everybody. While the tech world is busy inventing flexible glass for foldable phones, researcher Junyong Zhu from the Forest Products Laboratory in co-collaboration with colleagues from the University of Maryland and the University of Colorado has developed a transparent wood material that may find its way to smartphone displays of tomorrow.

The team of researchers used balsa wood as a base material, which was then subjected to a room-temperature oxidizing bath that makes it almost transparent. Then the wood is filled with a synthetic polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), making it glass-like transparent.

This transparent wood possesses very interesting characteristics. It’s more durable and lighter than regular glass and, wait for it, bends. Instead of shattering, the new material splinters when dropped and can withstand much stronger impacts than glass. Last but not least, it’s very cheap to mass-produce.

At the moment, researchers focus primarily on applications in construction. Due to the high thermal efficiency of this material, it’s ideal for windows, replacing the conventional glass. It might also be potentially used in the automotive industry. How cool it would be to have a wood display on your smartphone, though?

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