The lightest wood on earth - balsa

There is a kind of wood in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Three-year-old children can pick it up. A thin-skinned girl with a two-handed finger can pick up a square piece 20 cm wide, 6 cm thick and 1.3 m long.

This is the lightest wood on the planet - balsa wood, balsa wood native to South America and Central America, its density is only between 0.16 and 0.2, compared to the density of the heaviest wood 1.2, can be said "light as a feather" .

According to Professor Zou Shouqing from Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden, in 1965, due to the needs of China's aviation industry, the relevant departments introduced the baloons from Ecuador and planted them in Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Xishuangbanna to prepare raw materials for the wooden parts of the aircraft. At that time, due to factors such as climate and typhoon, this kind of tropical tree species suitable for planting in the 700-meter-high gully rainforest was only successfully tested in Xishuangbanna, and developed a planting scale of 3,000 mu in Jinghong and Yulun respectively. The trials of the other three places ended in failure. At that time, Zou Shouqing, who graduated from Nanjing Forestry University, was assigned to the Botanical Garden and was engaged in the cultivation and research of light wood.

Unfortunately, due to the Cultural Revolution and other reasons, this batch of balsa wood did not become the raw material for the manufacture of aircraft to fly into the sky, and eventually became a cork in a hot water bottle factory in Shanghai.

“Light wood has good thermal insulation and sound insulation. Even if it is not used to manufacture aviation products, it is used in aircraft models and teaching equipment, or in the production of “warm winter and cool summer” insulation flooring, there is a very broad market prospect” Professor Zou said.

Balsa is a fast-growing tropical tree that grows 3 to 4 meters per year and can grow 10 cm in diameter. It can be harvested in 3 to 4 years, and it can be recycled. The economic benefits are limitless. It can be said that balsa is a wealthy tree that can hide money in the deep.

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