Does the future of technology is in the trees?
Usually half the tree wood pulp is mixed with other structural components, wherein the cells of a plant catching Cellulose molecules to join them and produce fibers of around 20 nanometers in diameter, about 5000 times thinner than a human hair, which generate an incredibly strong and resilient network that supports plant cells (nanoscale).
The extraction process of mechanical pulp from a tree irreparably damaged papermaking fibers, so that a few years ago developed a method to extract and utilize the mechanical properties of cellulose fibers, which then still not were entirely clear but now began to be implemented on an industrial scale.
The new material is called nanocrystalline cellulose and creates extracting timber enzymes such as lignin and hemicellulose, and then stirring well disintegrate the pulp and extracting the fibers without their being damaged in the process. These fibers can be produced a lightweight, strong but pliable, with a tensile strength greater than steel , which conducts electricity and is completely biodegradable.
“It is natural and renewable version of carbon nanotubes , but at a fraction of the price, “said Jeff Youngblood ‘s Forestry Institute of Nanotechnology at Purdue University . “The most beautiful thing is that this material is so abundant that we do not need to create it. Do not even need to use whole trees, branches and chips can occupy even sawdust. We are converting waste into gold.”
In November 2011 opened the first factory in Canada to create business nanocrystalline cellulose CelluForce , which now produces one ton daily of this material. While three weeks ago, the Forest Products Laboratory of the United States , under the Ministry of Agriculture, inaugurated its first plant (at a cost of U.S. $1.7 million) to treat wood and create nanocrystalline cellulose, which estimate that be an industry move U.S. $600,000 million in 2020.
Specialists such as Phil Jones, director of new mining technologies IMERYS French, believe nanocrystalline cellulose replace metal and plastic parts of automobiles, plastics and inorganic would obsolete in the not too distant. Moreover, because the human body does not process the cellulose is much safer than other inorganic compounds. “The worst that could happen is that you paper cuts,” says Jones.
Link: Why wood pulp is world’s new wonder materials (New Scientist)Tags: Biodegradable, Cellulose, nanocrystalline cellulose, Nanotechnology, paper, Science, Sustainability, trees