Cellulose ‘harder than steel’: Researchers at the Perm State National Research University (PSNRU) in the West Urals have come up with a new kind of cellulose that is harder than steel and which could be used in the manufacture of super-light and ultra-strong mechanical parts, bulletproof vests, and medical bandages.
“The way the material is structured resembles a dense mass of needle-like crystals which makes it stronger than stainless steel,” the head of PSNRU’s Biocatalysis and Biosynthesis department Alexander Maksimov told TASS earlier this month. Waste from pulp and paper mills “which pose a serious threat to the environment” will be used as raw material to produce the new cellulose, he added.
According to Maksimov, the new substance’s pseudoplasticity makes it ductile when unused, but gives it the properties of a liquid when mechanically impacted and turns it super-hard in a solid state. The university is said to have reached agreements with a number of local industrial companies and SMEs which are willing to test the technology.