Wood pulp - the new miracle material


25/08/2012

The most sensational new material boasts of lightness, strength, plus the conduct electricity. And, surprisingly, it has been known for a long time.

The nanocrystalline cellulose, which is the product of processing of wood pulp, to be known as the newest wonder of the mother. The company Pioneer Electronics of Japan, uses it in the manufacture of a new generation of flexible electronic displays, and IBM in the manufacture of computer components. Even the U.S. Army did not miss the attention of new material by applying it to the creation of light body armor and bulletproof glass.

The first factory for the production of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) was opened in the U.S. on July 26 this year in Madison. According to the U.S. National Science Foundation, the industry in 2020 will reach magnitude of 600 billion.

So what are the advantages of this material? It is not only transparent, but also has a tensile strength of sixfold as compared to stainless steel, because densely packed microscopic needle-like crystals. Moreover, it is incredibly cheap.

"This is a natural, renewable version of carbon nanotubes, for a fraction of their price," - said Jeff Youngblood of NanoForestry Institute.

Factory valued at $ 1.7 million, which is owned by the U.S. Forest management, will produce two types of NCC: crystal and fiber.

Production of NCC starts with refined wood from which the removed components such as lignin and hemicellulose. The resulting material was milled into a homogeneous mass and hydrolysed to remove impurities, after which the crystals formed as a thick paste which can be applied to the surface or processed into strands which forms nanovolokontsa. They have a hardness, density and strength, and can take a variety of shapes and sizes. After lyophilization (cooling and drying), this material is excellent absorbent and insulating, light in weight.

"The beauty of the raw material is that it a lot and it should not be artificially produce" - said Yanglbad. "We do not even need to use the trees in full: length nanotsellyulozy only 2 nanometers. If necessary, we can use wood chips and branches or even sawdust. We turn waste into gold."

A much larger factory of this material was discovered in November 2011 in Montreal (Canada). It produces a ton of NTSK a day.

Theodore Uegner, deputy director of the factory in the United States, said that they will sell at the price of NFP just a few dollars per kilogram in a few years. According to him, realizing the potential of this material was made possible by technologies such as scanning electron microscopes, appeared about a decade ago.

NCC will replace metal and plastic parts of cars and could displace inorganic plastic from the market in the near future.

Original: Newscientist.com


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