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Thread: Removing Lignin

  1. #1
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    Default Removing Lignin

    What would be the outcome of removing lignin from tone wood? Researchers, as reported in New Scientist, 6 February 2021, reported that the recent discovery that lignin can be made transparent by removing only the parts of its molecules that give wood color. Hydrogen peroxide is brushed over the surfaced then left under a UV lamp to simulate natural sunlight. Ethanol was then used to remove the remaining gunk and the pores were then filled with epoxy. The end result allows90 percent of light to pass through and results in wood being 50 times stronger. The material is lighter and stronger than glass and could be used in load bearing windows and roofs. What might be the subsequent or positive sound qualities?

  2. #2
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    Ah, I posted about when someone will try this earlier in the year. No one seemed too interested at the time. But I didn't see that it made the wood stronger. I'm actually curious how that would be possible. But with strength comes rigidity and stiffness? I don't believe it leaves a crystal clear product but a frosted appearance. Might be cool or maybe just painted. Possibly open up the possible tone woods used for tops. If there is such an increase in strength how would that affect current tone woods?
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    John----It may be timely to do a trial---two like tap tuned sound boards, one treated and one untreated---if you find any of the seminal research let me know.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    The outcome of removing lignin from tone wood would be the wood falling apart, or at least nearly so.
    Wood is made of cellulose fibers (in the shape of tubes, more or less) held together by lignin, which is sort of a resin, not fully solid, that holds the tubes together. Take away the lignin and your left with tubular wood cells and nothing to hold them together.
    Apparently, what they do to make the transparent "wood" is remove some of the lignin and replace it with epoxy. The result is wood fibers held together by epoxy, essentially. Not that much different from fiberglass or carbon fiber; much of the material is resin.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    Yes, that is what I read in the article. Once removed it is infused under pressure with an epoxy. Might make a cool electric instrument.
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  7. #6
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    There are several youtube videos and articles on this. Here is just one. https://www.inventwood.com/transparent-wood/
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    I agree with John. Lignin is the stuff that holds wood together. Removal of lignin is what pulp factories do. I believe they're using strong lye and heat. Result is cellulose fibers for paper or such.
    The process for the transparent wood seems to leave some lignin to hold the fibers together and infusion of optical epoxy gives it the transparency. The resulting material is no longer wod but some kind of cellulose composite somewhat similar to the "flaxwood" used by one guitar manufacturer which uses flax fibers instead of wood.
    The transparent "wood" may be stronger but one parameter alone doesn't make it better than real wood. steel is also stronger than wood and not used much for instruments (except strings). Wood has just about the "correct" amount of stiffness and density etc around which the instruments evolved, now replace the wood with something artificial and you won't get better instrument but rather very different (in somewhat unpredictable way).
    Adrian

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    Registered User Greg Mirken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    The most important thing about the stiffness of wood is that it is stiff in the direction of the grain, but flexes much more easily across the grain. This makes a soundboard that resists deforming yet is responsive. I would guess that infusing the treated wood with epoxy sacrifices this property.
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    Default Re: Removing Lignin

    Face it, people. Epoxy is NOT tone.

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