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Arrow 05-12-2008 05:52 AM

Quasi-petrified wood

"...1 centimeter cube of wood a two-day acid bath, soaked it in a silica solution for two more (for best results, repeat this step up to three times), air-dried it, popped it into an argon-filled furnace gradually cranked up to 1,400 degrees centigrade to cook for two hours, then let cool in argon to room temperature."

"...Instant petrified wood, the silica taking up permanent residence with the carbon left in the cellulose to form a new silicon carbide, or SiC, ceramic. The material "replicates exactly the wood architecture..."

"Using a simple chemical process, Shin soaked the wood in acid, then infused it with a source of either titanium or silicon and baked it in an argon-filled furnace."

"Presto. Instant petrified wood, in which the silica and titanium take up permanent residence with the carbon left in the cellulose to form the ceramics silicon carbide, or SiC, and titanium carbide, TiC."

"...Technically, the wood is not really fossilized, says Briggs, because silicon and carbon never bond in normal fossilization...And it is very tough, something one laboratory assistant learned the hard way. "He broke two diamond blades trying to cut it..."

fritchie 05-12-2008 06:37 PM

Re: Silicification
Thanks, Arrow. This describes pretty amazing science, with potential for new sculptural work down the road a bit. Doubtless too expensive now for art use, but imagine rock-carving a larger piece with internal as well as external wood grain and texture.

Arrow 05-12-2008 06:53 PM

Re: Silicification
The older experiment delt with a Wood-Ceramic composite surface. Super strong coating for wood without changing the appearance. No acid bath for this process.:)

Popular Science, October 1992. Advanced Ceramic Labs at the University of Washington in Seattle (USA).

Researchers have also made wood-ceramic composites that are 20120% harder than regular wood, but still look like wood. Surprisingly simple, the process involves soaking wood in a solution containing silicon and aluminium compounds. The solution fills the pores in the wood, which is then oven-cured at 44C (112F). According to the labs research director, Daniel Dobbs, such experiments have impregnated the wood to depths of about 5 millimetres (0.2 inches). Furthermore, deeper penetration under pressure and curing at higher temperature have yielded a rock-hard wood-ceramic composite that has approached petrified wood.

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