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Wood Coating Work Targets Stronger Bridges

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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Russian scientists claim to have created a coating technique that strengthens wood fibers in such a way that the wood-polymer hybrid becomes stronger and more durable than natural wood.

Wood
© iStock.com / GOLFX

Scientists at a Russian university say they have developed a way to create a wood-polymer hybrid nanocomposite that is far stronger and more durable than natural wood.

Professor Andrey Ponomarev and Ph.D. student Alexander Rassochin, of the Institute of Engineering and Building, at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, use epoxy-based coatings and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic to create the strong, lightweight material, according to Russian news agency Tass.

Besides obvious uses in residential and commercial structures, the researchers see applications for the composite wood in the construction of structures like electrical transmission towers and bridges, the Tass report explained.

Epoxy with Nanoparticles

One of the keys is EpoxyPAN, a coating Ponomarev and associates at the school developed. The spray-applied, epoxy-based coating can be applied to a number of substrates, from wood to concrete and steel, the scientists say. EpoxyPAN, according to previous publications by Ponomarev, is a water-soluble epoxy resin filled with high-strength inorganic fillers and unique nanocarbon particles.

Ponomarev has also put forth research suggesting that EpoxyPAN could be useful in applications involving so-called “smart” or “clever” houses, playing into systems to help keep the buildings energy-efficient.

By taking wood and adding one epoxy-based coating, then covering it with a grid of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic then a coating of EpoxyPAN, the scientists say they’ve made a wood product that’s durable, as well as resistant to water damage and fire.

"The new [material] by far exceeds raw wood in durability and longevity, with the best properties of wood remaining untouched," the researchers told Tass.

They say that the material is 40 percent lighter than similar metal materials, and is 10 percent less expensive.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Building materials; Colleges and Universities; Epoxy; Research; Transmission Towers; Wood

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (1/4/2017, 8:33 AM)

Putting sand and carbon black in an epoxy would qualify as incorporating " high-strength inorganic fillers and unique nanocarbon particles" - if you go to the linked report the "nanoporous microfibers" could be dryer lint. Wrapping wood in CFRP and epoxy is a well established technique for increasing strength. There is not nearly enough performance information.


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