Biodegradable Fibers as Strong as Steel Made from Wood Cellulose

By Colin Jeffrey, Gizmag – 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. To produce the new material, the team took individual cellulose fibers and broke them down into their component strands or “fibrils.” They then separated and re-bound these fibrils in a technique that results in filaments much stronger than the original fiber. While fibrils have been separated in other studies – and even used...

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