When smartphone manufacturers are busy with perfecting their folding smartphones, or the under-display camera, someone has found a new kind of material that can be made into phone screens in the future. A team of researchers has discovered that the balsa wood can become transparent and even made into phone screens after processed in a certain way.
A researcher, Junyong Zhu from the Forest Products Laboratory, has teamed up with colleagues from the University of Maryland and the University of Colorado to work on this project. The team uses balsa wood as the base material, which is then subjected to a room-temperature oxidizing bath that makes it almost transparent. After that, the wood is filled with a synthetic polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and that’s how it becomes glass-like transparent.
Besides being transparent, it is said that the glass made with the wood is more durable and lighter than regular glasses. Not to mention that it is also bendable, which makes it perfect to be used with foldable smartphones. When it is dropped, the material will splinter and it can withstand much stronger impacts compared to conventional glasses. Another highlight of the material is that it’s cheap to be mass-produced.
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