Scientists create a wooden knife three times sharper than a steel blade

You have by no means used a picket knife like this.

Bo Chen

I have been to sufficient festivals and foodie festivals to know the picket knife and fork you get together with your semi-hot duck fries are dismal excuses for cutlery. They’re good at transferring meals round a plate, however that is actually it. The plastic generally works somewhat higher, however that is not nice for the planet. After which there’s the knives made from frozen human feces? Do not get me began on how poorly these reduce by way of meat.

The gold commonplace for knives is normally metal or ceramics, however in a brand new research, appearing in the journal Matter on Oct. 20, materials scientists describe their newest creation: A “hardened wooden knife” round 3 times sharper than a stainless-steel dinner knife. It will probably “simply” reduce by way of a medium-well completed steak, in line with Teng Li, a supplies scientist on the College of Maryland and first writer on the paper, and can be utilized and reused many occasions. 

“In our kitchen, now we have many wooden items that we use for a really very long time, like a slicing board, chopsticks, or a rolling pin,” Li mentioned in an announcement. “These knives, too, can be utilized many occasions in the event you resurface them, sharpen them, and carry out the identical common maintenance.”  

Utilizing wooden for cutlery is not a brand new thought — the foodie festivals will inform you that a lot — however Li’s staff developed a two-step methodology for hardening the wooden of their knives that elevated the blade’s hardness 23-fold. This was achieved by making certain the wooden retained the next degree of cellulose. 

Sometimes, wooden comprises solely about 50% cellulose, which gives some structural integrity, and weaker molecules make up the remainder. Li’s two-step course of was in a position to take away these weaker elements however retain the cellulose. Coating the wooden in mineral oil helps defend its sharpness throughout use and washing.

Utilizing a high-resolution microscope, Li’s staff examined the picket knife to find out why it was retaining a lot energy. They found the two-step course of the used prevented defects from creeping in. “The energy of a bit of fabric may be very delicate to the dimensions and density of defects, like voids, channels, or pits,” he mentioned in an announcement. 

The staff did not cease at hardened picket knives, both. In addition they developed picket nails, displaying they had been as sharp as typical metal nails.

The knife’s operate is spectacular, however its manufacturing course of is also essential. The staff writes that it may very well be a “renewable and low-cost different” with “the potential to switch plastic desk utensils.” | Scientists create a picket knife 3 times sharper than a metal blade


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