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Thread: Next-generation Wood?

  1. #1
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Next-generation Wood?

    By stripping out lignin and compressing with heat, a new form of wood is strong at micron thickness, something like 20 times better numbers than natural wood.

    In a recent report on Nature Communications, Wentao Gan and a team of researchers at the departments of materials science and engineering in the U.S. have detailed the use of an ultrathin film of natural wood to create an audio speaker. The construct exhibited excellent mechanical properties including high tensile strength and increased Young's modulus. The properties of ultrathin thickness and exceptional mechanical strength allowed excellent acoustic properties with higher resonance frequency and greater displacement amplitude when compared to a commercial polypropylene diaphragm in an audio speaker. As proof of concept, Gan et al. directly used the ultrathin wood film as a diaphragm in a real speaker to emit music. The surfaces with excellent mechanical properties and acoustic performance were a promising candidate to build next-generation acoustic speakers.
    https://phys.org/news/2019-11-single...d-speaker.html

    To build the ultrathin film with a thickness as low as 8.5 micrometers in the present work, Gan et al. partially removed lignin (delignification) and hemicellulose from natural balsa wood. They generated a highly porous material, which retained most of the cellulose in the cell walls, followed by increasing the density of treated wood by hot pressing for a thickness reduction of 97 percent. The densely packed wood cell wall structure combined with highly aligned cellulose fibers, contributed to superior tensile strength and high Young's modulus. The research team used industry-based cutting methods to develop a meter-long natural balsa wood film in the lab to reveal the material's potential for large-scale manufacture via a top-down approach.
    ...
    To understand the material's mechanical properties, the research team conducted mechanical tensile tests. Ultrathin wood showed greatly improved mechanical behavior compared with natural wood, with increased fracture strength of up to 342 MPa and Young's modulus of 43.65 GPa. These values indicated an almost 20-times improvement in tensile strength and 35-times enhancement in Young's modulus compared to natural wood.

    The scientists were keen to understand the underlying mechanisms. For this, they used SEM observations and demonstrated a porous microstructure with numerous wood channels in the natural wood slice after tensile tests. The feature made it easier to pull loosely assembled wood during tension; explaining the naturally low fracture strength observed. In contrast, wood cell walls within the synthetic ultrathin wood film formed hydrogen bonds between the firmly compressed cellulose nanofibers after densification; requiring higher energy to be pulled apart.
    I can imagine stacking a few layers of this for mandolin flat tops, or molding it onto a carved arch top.
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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    That's great! Should make your mandolin sound just like a banjo

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  5. #3
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    That process is pretty much how some of the ebony substututes for fingerboards are made. You take some solid hardwood, dye, heat and compress it and you get stronger harder wood that works similarly to ebony. The product is suspectible to moisture so some companies also impregnate with resins...
    Adrian

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  7. #4

    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    Well.....might be something, who knows? I'm sure somebody will give it a chance. Worth a try, IMHO. Something new.

    Carbon Fiber isn't really my thing, but many people love it, for example.

    A new Chevy is mostly plastic, but I would rather drive it to California than take a horse and buggy........

    Airplanes were a new idea less than 120 years ago....

    OTOH, there may be a "spiritual" reason that we want tonewoods to be naturally derived. Similar to how some people fear GMO foods.....

    Kind of like being a vegetarian because I like my dog, even if she isn't a vegetarian.......

    "We" can overthink these issues. A dog doesn't have that luxury....

  8. #5
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    I can think of only a few reasons to use this wood for instruments. 1. Because it is cheaper, and/or 2. Because it is more durable, i.e., less susceptible to environmental effects. Both of those reasons are good enough to try it.

    It seems very unlikely that a mandolin, at least, made from this product would ever rival good traditional mandolins in the market place. Nothing else ever has. Which is not to say no one should or will try it. Cheap and durable has its place.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    I once played an electric guitar manufactured completely from machined aluminum billet. It sounded awful to me. But I'm sure that someone with skills could employ it to make a noise that was of some value to someone. Tone happens.

  10. #7
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    Wrcnbndr—Makes you wonder WHY?

  11. #8

    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    As a guy who has really really tried to understand the electric guitar for twenty years and tried to squeeze every bit of understanding out of every encounter with a superior instrument, I'm resigned to calling some things mojo as they are beyond my comprehension. Yes, there are things that generally work better than other things and there are recipes in construction that consistently yield a certain character. But tone will happen one way or another. It then just becomes a matter of whether or not that tone will be appreciated.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9-ltPsbw9g

  12. #9
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    If you want it to sound like wood, why not, IDK, use wood? Perhaps we could expend human efforts to plant trees on deforested areas. Vast amounts of corn and soy fields used to be hardwood trees.
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  13. #10
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    Now there’s a heck of an idea!

  14. #11
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    I went back to watch that video, Wrnch. Again, I wonder why? Because we can, I guess, is a good enough answer. But that shovel-guitar will not become a big seller...

  15. #12

    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    The day I first saw that video I went to my hardware store on purchased a double headed axe and basically did the same thing he did. It had better sustain -- not really. It sounded like an axe with strings. Tone happens.
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  17. #13

    Default Re: Next-generation Wood?

    Interesting connection between a new material and an application. I’m pretty sure that if we had to, for some reason, abandon current materials for instruments, we’d probably learn a lot about what made them ‘good’ and engineer similar or even better ones. After all, someone had to make the instrumental move to high-strength steel strings back when they were entirely new tech.
    However, there seems to be great comfort in wood: furniture, buildings, instruments. And craftsmanship. And friendly mysteries.

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