Sunday, July 06, 2008

Paper as strong as steel?

Lars Berglund of the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology has taken a look at a long-existing process - the making of paper - and found that we're not doing it as well as we could. Current paper-making machines damage the cellulose fibers and produce paper that's not nearly as strong or enduring as it would be. Berglund's "nanopaper," made from pure extracted cellulose fibers, has a tensile strength nearly equal to that of stainless steel. It's a long way from being an industrially-viable product, but it offers the possibility of using paper in applications now using non-renewable resources.

COMMENT: I like the ingenuity here - "Let's examine something we've been doing for centuries and see if we can improve on it." On the other hand, the prospect of indestructible junk mail looms large....

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