Wood’s hidden talents

Home Technologist 12 Wood’s hidden talents

Move over, graphene. Tree-derived nanocellulose might just be the next wonder material.

It’s stiffer than Kevlar and eight times as strong as steel – while being lightweight, non-toxic, electrically conductive and, when manipulated in certain ways, gas impermeable, transparent and highly absorbent. This new wonder material is nanocellulose, which is made by tinkering with cellulose, wood’s key ingredient, at the nanoscale. “We’ve only seen the beginning of where and how nanocellulose can be used”, says Mikael Lindström of Innventia, a Swedish research institute.

Six current potential applications ▼

Related reading: Construction: back to the roots

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