Two common tree species of Betula alnoides (Betula
) and New Zealand pine (Pinups radiata D. Don
) were selected as the raw materials to prepare for the partially transparent wood (TW) in this study. Although the sample is transparent in a broad sense, it has color and pattern, so it is not absolutely colorless and transparent, and is therefore called partially transparent. For ease of interpretation, the following “partially transparent wood” is referred to as “transparent wood (TW)”. The wood template (FW) was prepared by removing part of the lignin with the acid delignification method, and then the transparent wood was obtained by impregnating the wood template with a refractive-index-matched resin. The goal of this study is to achieve transparency of the wood (the light transmittance of the prepared transparent wood should be improved as much as possible) by exploring the partial delignification process of different tree species on the basis of retaining the aesthetics, texture and mechanical strength of the original wood. Therefore, in the process of removing partial lignin by the acid delignification method, the orthogonal test method was used to explore the better process conditions for the preparation of transparent wood. The tests of color difference, light transmittance, porosity, microstructure, chemical groups, mechanical strength were carried out on the wood templates and transparent wood under different experimental conditions. In addition, through the three major elements (lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose) test and orthogonal range analysis method, the influence of each process factor on the lignin removal of each tree species was obtained. It was finally obtained that the two tree species acquired the highest light transmittance at the experimental level 9 (process parameters: NaClO2
concentration 1 wt%, 90 °C, 1.5 h); and the transparent wood retained most of the color and texture of the original wood under partial delignification up to 4.84–11.07%, while the mechanical strength with 57.76% improved and light transmittance with 14.14% higher than these properties of the original wood at most. In addition, the wood template and resin have a good synergy effect from multifaceted analysis, which showed that this kind of transparent wood has the potential to become the functional decorative material.
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