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[翻译]Technology Report - Can Wood Be Stronger Than Steel?

更新时间:2018/3/5 6:50:43 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Researchers say they have created a new super-material in the laboratory. They say it is stronger, lighter and costs less than steel.

研究人员表示,他们在实验室中造出了一种新的超级材料。他们称这种材料材料比钢铁还要坚硬、轻盈而且成本更低。

But the new material is not a product of high technology or a metallic substance. It is wood.

但是这种新材料不是什么高科技产品或金属物质,它就是木头。

Researchers Liangbing Hu and Teng Li are with the University of Maryland in the United States.

胡良斌和李腾这两位研究人员就职于美国的马里兰大学。

By using a few chemicals, heat and pressure, they have made wood three times denser and 10 times stronger. Hu says that means it can compete with some of the world’s strongest materials.

通过利用一些化学物质、高温和压力,他们使木材的密度提高了3倍,强度提高了10倍。胡良斌表示,这意味着它可以同世界上最坚硬的材料一较高下。

"We're interested in replacing steel and carbon fibers with strong wood structures," he said.

他说:“我们有兴趣用坚硬的木质结构来替换钢铁和碳纤维。”

Strong, but not costly

坚硬但是廉价

The process does not require any special raw, unprocessed material. Hu said that means the cost of the product will be relatively low. He added, "We can start with very cheap wood, and we can also start with very fancy, expensive wood. But in the end, ultimately we get very similar performance."

该过程并不需要任何特别原始、未加工的材料。胡良斌表示,这意味着这种产品的成本相对低廉。他补充说:“我们可以用非常廉价的木材,也可以用精致、昂贵的木材。但是最终得到的结果非常类似。”

The researchers are calling their product "super wood." It is made by partially removing a natural polymer called lignin.

研究人员称他们的产品为“超级木材。”它是通过去除一种被称之为木质素的天然聚合物而制成的。

Hu explained that “lignin is like a binder to hold all the components together in natural wood. In our process, we found out to be able to densify the wood completely, we have to remove some of these binders."

胡良斌解释说:“木质素就像是天然木头里面固定所有元素的粘合剂。在我们的实验过程中,我们发现要完全提升木头的密度,就得去除其中一些粘合剂。”

Strong chemicals are put on the wood. The chemicals remove about half of its lignin. Then, after being left in extreme heat and pressurized for a day, the treated wood is ready. The researchers say the wood is strong enough to build automobiles, airplanes, wind turbines and more. A report on their findings was published in the journal Nature.

给木头添加高强度的化学物质,这些化学物质会去除一半左右的木质素。然后,在经过一天的极度高温和加压之后,这种经过处理的木头就制成了。研究人员表示,这种木头的强度足以制造汽车、飞机、风力发电机等等。他们这项研究结果发表在《自然》杂志上。

The researchers say super-strength wood would have less of an effect on the environment than the steel or other metals it could replace. However, their process is not pollution-free. It uses some of the same chemicals involved in making paper.

研究人员表示,这种超级强度的木头比它可能要取代的钢铁或其它金属对环境的影响更小。然而,它们的处理过程也并不是没有污染。它使用了一些跟造纸类似的化学物质。

Researcher Teng Li says he and Hu are finding many new ways to use wood, including creating batteries and see-through wood and paper.

研究人员李腾表示,他和胡良斌正在寻找木材的很多新的用途,包括制造电池、透明木材以及纸张。

“Wood has been existing on Earth more than a million years. And human beings have been using wood for furniture, construction for more than 10 thousand years. And the more we worked on this material, we realized, we have never fully exhausted the potential of this amazing material."

李腾说:“木头在地球上已经存在了一百多万年。人类将木头用于家具和建筑上也超过了一万年。我们越是研究这项材料,就越了解到我们从未充分利用这种神奇材料的潜力。”

Other scientists are finding new uses for wood as well. Researchers in Sweden have reported making wood-based super-strong fibers for clothing and other materials.

其他科学家也在寻找木材的新用途。瑞典研究人员报告了用于制作服装和其它材料的木质超强纤维。

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Words in This Story

component – n. a piece or part of something

polymer – n. a chemical substance that is made of small molecules that are ordered in a simple repeating structure

wind turbine – n. a large machine that is used to produce electricity

dense – adj. having parts that are close together; thick

fiber – n. a thin piece of natural or man-made material

raw – adj. not cooked or prepared; unprocessed

cheap – adj. low-cost; not pricey

expensive – adj. costly

binder – n. a cover for holding pieces of paper together

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