Functional, Beautiful “Metallic Wood” Intrigues Designers

Functional, Beautiful “Metallic Wood” Intrigues Designers

By Lauren Salig

A new material, created in part by James Pikul, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at Penn Engineering, has architects and designers from across the globe wondering when they’ll be able to put this incredibly strong and light “metallic wood” to the test.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the University of Cambridge, and Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey collaborated on the study which was published this January in Nature Scientific Reports.

Since the study’s publication, the design world has been speculating about the nickel-based material’s potential, with top design magazines like Dwell and UK’s Dezeen taking note.

Dezeen reporter Rima Sabina Aouf talked with Pikul about why his metallic wood is catching the eyes of designers:

“It is beautiful,” said Pikul. “In addition to being strong and light, it reflects pure colours because it contains elements that are the size of light, and therefore interact directly with light.”

Pikul goes on to explain that architects might be attracted to the porous nature of the material that could allow wind or rainwater to flow through easily.

Read more coverage on metallic wood:

“‘Metallic wood’ makes nickel as strong as titanium, but five times lighter”
David Szondy, New Atlas

“‘Metallic wood’ throws down a challenge to titanium”
Nick Carne, COSMOS

“New ‘metallic wood’ so light it could make titanium obsolete”
Colm Gorey, Siliconrepublic