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ecksate t1_j91qkb4 wrote

The article so much better written and well informed than the comments.

Stronger wood could mean using less concrete, which I think is the number one source of carbon emissions. We stopped using wood for huge buildings because it was flammable and concrete and steel were stronger.

But fire prevention has improved incredibly, in building construction, the work that the Underwriters lab does, fire detection and suppression,

Maybe one day we'll see skyscrapers that are closer to carbon neutral.


P1xelHunter78 t1_j927klm wrote

Or, stronger wood in traditional stick built houses wouldn’t be awful


darga89 t1_j93zhjp wrote

> Or, stronger wood in traditional stick built houses wouldn’t be awful

yeah right, they'll just increase stud spacing and reduce sheathing thickness with any new tech advances.


bigdaddyborg t1_j943zbv wrote

Increasing stud spacing (without compromising structural strength) would actually help with getting residential buildings closer to a carbon neutral life-cycle. As it would reduce thermal bridging and make homes easier/cheaper to maintain a healthy internal temperature.


poplafuse t1_j9467ud wrote

The more studs the hotter it gets if ya know what I mean


dmattox10 t1_j941sz1 wrote

This person is correct, simulations allow for much more accurate information on how to build, which has made boats for example more fragile in the same way. They used to use much much more fiberglass than they do now that we fully understand it’s strength.


altiuscitiusfortius t1_j963s8r wrote

My house was built in 1929 using old growth lumber by somebody who didn't know how how strong to build things, and it was overbuilt so much I could park a tank in my living room.

Literal tree trunks for beams that are so dense I can't pound a nail in to them. The "2x4s" for framing walls measure 3inches x6 inches. The subfloor isn't thin plywood, its 3x12 inch planks


danielravennest t1_j97a51j wrote

On the other hand, one old house I lived in needed concrete floor support jacks in the crawl space because the floor joists were too weak on their own. They just didn't have standards and building inspectors back then.

On the other hand, when I renovated, I found the wall studs were actual 2x4s, not 1.5x3.5 like modern ones. But they were rough cut, right from the sawmill.


TheIllustrativeMan t1_j98b379 wrote

2x4 refers to the rough cut dimensions, so that's why. Modern studs are "finished 4 sides", which decreases the dimensions after rough cut.


Kaeny t1_j951w5a wrote

I want to live in one of those japanese traditional towers. Like for the nobles


zero0n3 t1_j928bw3 wrote

I wonder if this is a materials process (coating the wood then injecting the co2 or something like that) or genetic modification to have it absorb more co2?

Because genetically modified trees that:

  • absorb more co2
  • use less nutrients & water / co2 captured
  • grows and works faster
  • produces wood that is an order of magnitude better than current wood

Is probably like some golden chalice in green carbon capture


Fearlessleader85 t1_j92ha3z wrote

That would be pretty cool, provided they didn't become crazy invasive.

From my livingroom window, i can see a few thousand trees. Probably 75% of them are Russian Olive trees, which stink and have large spines that will punch through a leather glove.

I do not live in Russia. These were brought in a few decades ago and planted as decoration. They're EVERYWHERE now.

And they're kinda dangerous. They get to 30-35' tall, then just randomly fall over.


TheArcticFox444 t1_j92th7v wrote

>And they're kinda dangerous. They get to 30-35' tall, then just randomly fall over.

The soil probably isn't right. Russian olives are banned in my community because of this. They blow over in wind. But, in some parts of the country, they are used as wind breaks! They need rocky soil for their roots to wrap around and get a grip.


Fearlessleader85 t1_j930n9t wrote

Yeah, we're ancient lake bottom. The only rocks i can find on my property were brought in.


Viking_Genetics t1_j936n58 wrote

Almost all plants you can breed to be sterile, paulownia (Empress) trees grow insanely fast, some of the hybrid clones that have been bred are 100% sterile and it can only be propagated through clones, so stuff like that could potentially be a way to help decrease the risk of something like that happening


bernyzilla t1_j950hfz wrote

That's what they said about the dinosaurs! and yet here we are 47 movies in and they are still wreaking havoc!

Life, uh, finds away.


SilentHackerDoc t1_j95qot9 wrote

Somehow despite your error with saying "finds a way", it actually came across as even more accurate.


eboeard-game-gom3 t1_j93h7ua wrote

Really figures that even Russian trees don't work right.


gbushprogs t1_j93xkqf wrote

NASA astronauts get to the ISS via Russian rocket launches. Wonder what that says about us.


darga89 t1_j93zz14 wrote

They used to a few years ago but now that has changed with SpaceX and in a few months Boeing's crewed vehicles.


Ok_Fox_1770 t1_j958fle wrote

Imagine being too lazy to mow your trees for a couple weeks and then You got a redwood forest. Future sounds cool, just hope we don’t mess up nature


Utter_Rube t1_j94011p wrote

Article very clearly explains that this is a materials process. I'd recommend giving it a read.


ecksate t1_j92lwdz wrote

Applying some fancy co2 absorbing material to wood makes the material work 8 times better and also makes it more stable or something.


BodSmith54321 t1_j940suk wrote

Even if it saved life on earth, people would still protest anything GM.


One-Plane7101 t1_j97u5p4 wrote

Evolution is pushing trees to do that anyway. Only drought/flood resistant plants will survive as climate changes. It could take a couple hundred thousand years or so, but it’ll happen.


thenoaf t1_j93h611 wrote

I mean yeah but environmentalists will oppose it because the word "GMO" is scary. I was just reading about the opposition to this exact thing the other day


Morthra t1_j93in97 wrote

One other thing about concrete that gets glossed over a lot is that it requires sand dredged up from riverbeds and other places where it is water tumbled. Wind tumbled sand, like what you find in deserts such as the Sahara, is unsuitable due to its smooth shape.

Demand for concrete in construction is contributing to erosion of riverbanks and other habitat destruction in this way.


zenzukai t1_j933wvs wrote

Using MOF (Metal Organic Framework) to bind it. Scaling this would be very expensive. Hydrogen fuel production uses MOFs, building a house out of them economically would be quite the feat.

There have been significant advances in advanced wood materials. Treated and compressed wood can now get as strong as kevlar and steel.


squanchingonreddit t1_j92b96f wrote

Mass timber buildings. They're the future. All wood or mostly wood. The large timber actually burn very slowly and give ample time to escape the building. It's much better than steel that just collapses when heated.


BigPickleKAM t1_j93vjdc wrote

Depending on the size of the building wood can have a better fire survivability rating than steel as wood beams take a long long time to burn through to a point of failure. While a correspondingly strong steel beam would lose its ability to remain rigid.


>A fire test conducted in 1961 at the Southwest Research Institute compared the fire endurance of a 7x21-inch glulam timber with a W16x40 steel beam. Both beams spanned approximately 43.5 feet and were loaded to full design load (approximately 12,450 lb.). After about 30 minutes, the steel beam deflected more than 35 inches and collapsed into the test furnace, ending the test. The wood beam deflected 2 1/4 inches with more than 75% of the original wood section undamaged. Calculation procedures provided in a new publication available from the American Wood Council, entitled Technical Report 10: Calculating the Fire Resistance of Exposed Wood Members, estimates that the failure time of the 7x21-inch wood beam would have exceeded 65 minutes if the test had not ended at 30 minutes.


Of course wooden beams large enough to build a modern sky scraper would be so large they would eliminate all interior volume making them a non practical choice. But for low rise apartments it can be a good choice.


EnkiduOdinson t1_j954418 wrote

AFAIK they even stop burning altogether after a certain point. A charred layer forms that won’t burn. As long as the remaining wood inside this layer is strong enough it won’t fail at all


ApparentlyABot t1_j9349ju wrote

There are a LOT of other factors as to why we use concrete over wood, strength, toughness and all those other attributes.

Also how is concrete the NUMBER one source of carbon emissions exactly?


grat_is_not_nice t1_j93barq wrote

Because to make cement for concrete, you heat calcium carbonate (limestone) to drive off carbon dioxide to make lime (calcuim oxide). This process is energy intensive, requiring quarrying equipment, crushers, heating, cooling and grinding, as well as emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide as waste product.


ApparentlyABot t1_j93brip wrote

Okay, but how does that make it number one? I feel like there are many other I dustries, such as rare earth mining and iron working that requires the same amount of energy if not more.

What makes the concrete industry the worst as you put it?


Langola t1_j93cn5j wrote

We produce concrete more than anything else on this earth


DGrey10 t1_j93t4gb wrote

Last time I looked at I believe it was something on the scale of 1 cubic meter of concrete per person per year on the planet. Mindbogglingly huge amount.


SuperGameTheory t1_j94d3fs wrote

Goddamnit, I demand my 40 m^3 of concrete. I have some steps to build.


EnkiduOdinson t1_j954b8e wrote

In fact if you treated concrete like a country it would be third on the list of countries that emit the most CO2, right after China and the US. So concrete production produces more CO2 than India with its population of a billion people


ApparentlyABot t1_j93drp9 wrote

From my quick google aearch I can see that's the consensus, but it still isn't the worst emmiter for being the most produced resource which is pretty surprising. It's thrid.


dosetoyevsky t1_j93v4t5 wrote

OK. So what's your point then? Is this not a problem, except for the semantics?


iinavpov t1_j95a6gm wrote

First or third is not semantics.

Prioritisation of efforts is important, and the wrong ranking means bad environmental consequences.


tired_hillbilly t1_j94oizl wrote

Creating concrete takes a lot of energy, which is one source of CO2, but creating cement releases CO2 in one step of the process. Even if you had a 100% carbon-free source of energy, creating cement still produces CO2.


iinavpov t1_j95a91h wrote

Yes, except that it's a low energy process (compared to steel, or even making CLT).

The volumes are gigantic, however.


NoStranger6 t1_j95p69k wrote

One thing to consider about fire security is that steel gradually loses it’s structural integrity as it gets hotter. Wood doesn’t until it literally burns away.


propaganda_bot-9733 t1_j96rk7f wrote

Concrete is not even close to the number one source of carbon emissions. It accounts for roughly 3% of total emissions, which is about 1/4 the amount that road transportation emits.

If we stopped using concrete completely, alone this action would have pretty much no measurable effect on our C02 problem. Although it could be part of the mosaic of solutions and that is worth saying.


masterofshadows t1_j93ijfz wrote

They've already invented carbon negative concrete. They just don't use it due to cost. Is this process going to be cheaper than traditional concrete/steel? Probably not, so it will not be used as well unless we start mandating it.


iinavpov t1_j95acpf wrote

No, it's not used because it's BS greenwashing, has durability issues, and is expensive (because of transport, which also adds carbon)