Cast aside your iron for super-paper!

Stack of paperHere’s a little something I missed the other week: a Swedish research team are working to develop “nanopaper”, a material based on wood-pulp cellulose nanofibres that can be stronger than cast iron.

The new method involves breaking down wood pulp with enzymes and then fragmenting it using a mechanical beater. The shear forces produced cause the cellulose to gently disintegrate into its component fibres.

The end result is undamaged cellulose fibres suspended in water. When the water is drained away Berglund found that the fibres join together into networks held by hydrogen bonds, forming flat sheets of “nanopaper”.

So what, you may be thinking. Well, as Charlie Stross suggested, if the current generation of 3D-printing/fabrication systems (like RepRap) swapped the soft plastics they currently extrude with for the nanopaper formula:

“… the future may turn out to be made of papier maché.”

Anyone have any idea how recyclable this cellulose nanopaper would be by comparison to plastics or steel? [image by Tina Raval]

4 thoughts on “Cast aside your iron for super-paper!”

  1. “Any idea how recyclable?” Lemme see … anybody got a match? It’ll definitely be usable for heat energy production, and contribute to debunking AGW at the same time!

  2. At last! With this remarkable invention, I can show those balloon-boosting fools at the Weldon Institute that the conquest of the air lies in heavier-than-air vehicles!

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