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Wooden windows, but not as we know them

For several years, glass making has involved two main methods: that of float glass and glass blowing. Glass making was first documented in 3,500 BC in Mesopotamia. Float glass was developed by Pilkington’s works in St. Helens. 5,554 years later, we see another development in glass making. Under development at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology is transparent wood windows, the next wave of glass manufacturing.


Lars Berglund announced his findings in the American Chemical Society journal, Biomacromolecules. The professor at Wallenberg Wood Science Centre stated that “Transparent wood is a good material for solar cells since it’s a low-cost, readily available and a renewable resource.”

He added, “This becomes particularly important in covering large surfaces with solar cells.” Transparent wood windows, he also said, could be good for semi-transparent glass. Transparency is achieved by taking lignin from the wood, via complex chemistry techniques. Courtesy of nanoscale tweaking, the wood turns from white to clear. Ten years from now, we could be selling 100% wooden windows, from frame to pane.

Transparent Wood Glass: the Future

Furthermore, transparent wood glass could be an affordable material for solar panels and retail fascias. The Swedish Royal Institute’s team say it is suitable for mass production. Perhaps all-wooden double glazing is less than five years away.

Its transparent qualities are achieved by a process similar to chemical pulping. Their transparent wood has a strength similar to opaque lumber. Given its strength, it could be a boon with architectural features. Even in transport termini, as an alternative to glass or perspex.

Lars Berglund has maintained that his new wonder material is years away from mass production. He is unsure about its expense and has stated it would be some time before it appears in IKEA furniture (let alone fully fledged windows).

Solar Panels: a possible use of transparent wood panels?
Solar Panels: a possible use of transparent wood panels?
Chartwell Wooden Windows, 07 April 2016.


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