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cellulose

Materials

Grass used to make thinner, stronger condoms

So first of all … no, nobody is thinking of weaving together blades of grass to make condoms. Scientists at Australia's University of Queensland, however, are having success with condoms made from a latex with added nanocellulose obtained from a native grass. Not only are they stronger than regular latex condoms, but they could be as thin as the diameter of a human hair.Read More

Electronics

Rechargeable paper sheets could help rewrite the book on electricity storage

Using millions of tiny fibers of nanocellulose sheathed with a conductive polymer coating, scientists have created sheets of paper that can store significant amounts of electric charge. Dubbed "power paper," the material is able to be recharged many hundreds of time, and in mere seconds. It is also lightweight, requires no toxic chemicals or heavy metals to create, and may offer a renewable and prolific way to provide energy to all manner of devices.Read More

3D Printing

3D-printed objects created entirely from wood cellulose

The 3D printing revolution brings with it a harmful side effect: the special inks that it uses are derived (for the most part) from environmentally-unfriendly processes involving fossil fuels and toxic byproducts. But now scientists at Chalmers University of Technology have succeeded in using cellulose – the most abundant organic compound on the planet – in a 3D printer. They were also able to create electrically-conductive materials by adding carbon nanotubes.Read More

Science

New production technique could boost the use of nanocellulose

While we hear a lot about the wonders of materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes, nanofibrillated cellulose (aka: Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF) also shows a lot of promise. A type of "nanocellulose", it can be used to produce composite materials that are strong, light, electrically-conductive and oxygen-impervious. Additionally, it uses an existing waste product as its feedstock. Unfortunately its production process is fairly energy-intensive, limiting its widespread use. Thanks to a new technique, however, that may soon no longer be the case. Read More

Science

Biodegradable fibers as strong as steel made from wood cellulose

A team of researchers working at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology claim to have developed a way to make cellulose fibers stronger than steel on a strength-to-weight basis. In what is touted as a world first, the team from the institute's Wallenberg Wood Science Center claim that the new fiber could be used as a biodegradable replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it.Read More

Science

Nanoscale research may help preserve Leonardo da Vinci’s vanishing portrait

A famous red chalk on paper drawing, widely accepted as a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, is rapidly deteriorating from the effects of years of exposure to pollution, light, and heat. Worst of all, many centuries in unregulated and humid storage has led to extensive yellowing and browning of the paper. Recently, however, researchers from Italy and Poland have developed a new non-destructive, nano-level method to identify the root causes of the degradation and assist in planning appropriate conservation strategies.Read More

Environment

Sponges made from wood waste may soak up oil spills

As the Deepwater Horizon incident showed us, oil spills can be huge environmental disasters. That said, there are also considerable challenges in dealing with the waste products generated by the forestry and agriculture industries. Now, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research group have come up with a method of addressing the one problem with the other – they've developed sponges made from cellulose waste, that can soak up 50 times their own weight in oil. Read More

Environment

Zeoform: The eco-friendly building material of the future?

Australian company Zeo has developed and patented a glue-free process that creates a strong, versatile new building material out of just cellulose and water. The resulting hardwood-like material known as Zeoform can then be sprayed, molded or shaped into a range of products. And it's not just trees that stand to benefit – Zeoform also promises an eco-friendly alternative to the use of plastics and resins. Read More

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