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Achieving strength and extensibility at the same time has so far been a great challenge in material engineering: increasing strength has meant losing extensibility and vice versa. Now Aalto University and VTT researchers have succeeded in overcoming this challenge, with inspiration from nature.
The researchers created a truly new bio-based material by gluing together wood cellulose fibres and the silk protein found in spider web threads. The result is a very firm and resilient material which could be used in the future as a possible replacement for plastic, as part of bio-based composites and in medical applications, surgical fibres, textile industry and packaging.
Aalto - University - Professor - Markus - Linder
According to Aalto University Professor Markus Linder, nature offers great ingredients for developing new materials, such as firm and easily available cellulose and tough and flexible silk as used in this research. The advantage with both of these materials is that, unlike plastic, they are biodegradable and do not damage nature the same way micro-plastic do.
"Our researchers just need to be able to reproduce the natural properties," adds Linder, who was also leading the research.
Birch - Tree - Pulp
"We used birch tree pulp, broke...
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