cellulose

  • ​Wood is an established and versatile construction material, used to build everything from high-rises and airports to apartment buildings. It also, however, is not immune to catching fire. A new coating could help keep that from happening, and it's actually made from wood.
  • Aerogels are among the best thermal insulators, but their cloudy appearance doesn't work for windows, one of the worst offenders for letting heat escape a building. Now, researchers at Colorado University Boulder have found a way to make them transparent, recycling a beer by-product in the process.
  • ​Cellulose and chitin are the world's first- and second-most common biopolymers, found in plants and crustacean shells (among other places) respectively. Georgia Tech scientists have now devised a method of combining the two, to produce plastic-like compostable food wrap.
  • Forget taxes on imports. If a new scientific development lives up to expectations, the real job creator for the US could lie in harnessing lignin waste. Scientists have found a way to make high quality carbon fiber from it, which could turn industrial discards into a major money spinner.​​​​
  • ​​When it comes to clothing, being both environmentally-conscious and fashionable can be tricky. Old clothes can be given away, of course, but they still ultimately end up in the landfill. That's why scientists have devised a method of essentially "melting down" old clothes to make new material.​
  • Engineers at MIT have developed a way to use plant cellulose as a feedstock for 3D printers, providing another renewable, biodegradable alternative to popular petroleum-based polymers like ABS currently being used. It could also be cheaper, stronger, and offer antimicrobial properties.
  • Scientists 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.​
  • Lightweight, foldable, and strong sheets of "power paper" have been created by scientists that can store significant amounts of electric charge and may one day provide ultra-thin electricity storage for modern devices.
  • Cellulose – the most abundant organic compound on the planet – has successfully been used to 3D print a range of objects, including some that are electrically conductive. It's being pitched as a biodegradable and renewable alternative to the plastics and metals commonly used in 3D printing.
  • Science
    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. Thanks to a new more practical production technique, it may soon start showing up everywhere.
  • Science
    Researchers have been able to take the cellulose in sawdust and convert it into hydrocarbon chains. These can be used as an additive in gasoline or as building blocks to create plastics, rubber, nylon, insulation foams and other materials normally made from ethylene, propylene and benzene.
  • Science
    Working with cellulose from trees, researchers have produced fibers claimed to be as strong as steel, and versatile enough to replace strands of fiberglass or lengths of cotton whilst still remaining biodegradable.