Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Cellulose set to become a super raw material

11 Jan 2018, 00:14 ( 9 Months ago) | updated: 11 Jan 2018, 13:49 ( 9 Months ago)

UPM photo.

Wood cellulose has the potential to be a super material that can in the future replace fossil raw materials such as plastic and man-made fibres or even cotton, according to the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

New applications have been sought for cellulose courtesy of Finland’s extensive and multidisciplinary Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Cellulose (DWoC) research project, said VTT in a press release.

The project has resulted in innovations and business models, especially for small and medium-sized businesses in housing and textiles, construction and architecture, as well as health and wellbeing.

“The challenges of sustainable development simply force us to do things differently. Research has been conducted around the world for some time, but we have now managed to find functional materials and technologies that make the change possible. The results of our research project, based on new biomaterials, are a major opening worldwide. Finland has the potential to be a true force of change in the future of materials,” said Professor Pirjo Kääriäinen from Aalto University.

The DWoC research project, which has been running since 2013, aims at accelerating the transformation of the Finnish forest industry into a dynamic ecosystem of bio-economy and increasing the use of cellulose, especially in high-value products.

The research project has combined the expertise of designers, architects, material scientists and business professionals. At the same time, a strong network of biomaterials has emerged in Finland.

The research project has developed new types of biodegradable materials, tested the 3D printing of cellulose by various methods and developed new manufacturing technologies such as foam printing and paper recycling into textile fibres.

It has resulted in product concepts and ideas along with promising technological innovations. During the project implementation, for example, biodegradable shoes and a bicycle made of nanocellulose were demonstrated, as well as a yarn was directly printed out of cellulose pulp manufactured by Spinnova Oy that started up in early 2015 based on the innovation.

The research partners of the project are Aalto University, the Tampere University of Technology (TUT), the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and the Management Unit of University of Vaasa. 

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