New technology makes strong threads from cellulose
Cooperation between Innventia and KTH in developing new process technology renders scientific successes and a wood-based material stronger than steel and can be used to replace cotton.
Results showing the successful assembly of fibrils from cellulose into very strong threads were published this week. The origin of the technology is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Innventia as partner within the Wallenberg Wood Science Center, which is located at KTH and Chalmers. Innventia also manufactured the fibrils used and is responsible for patenting the new technology. The new method is able to align the fibrils along the direction of the thread during the production process. This produces a controlled structure that can give extremely strong threads, which was demonstrated in tests at the DESY research centre in Hamburg. The structure makes the material stronger than both steel and aluminium, and can be used to replace glass fibres. The process can also be adjusted to produce threads that could replace cotton. The results are so spectacular that they were reported in the highly respected scientific journal Nature Communications.
"This is a superb example of successful cooperation between an institute and the academic world. And it doesn't just concern infrastructure resources such as laboratories and pilot plants. Innventia has had a number of people involved within Wallenberg Wood Science Center for many years. Daniel Söderberg, who is one of the researchers behind the published article, was employed at Innventia and simultaneously an adjunct Professor at KTH at the time of the work", says Torgny Persson, Vice President business area Material Processes.
Innventia will continue to work on thread spinning technology in Innventia's forthcoming Research Programme 2015-2017, within areas such as nanocellulose processes and lignin fibres.
"In the research programmes we are working together with industry in order to scale up and implement research findings. Thus our demonstration and pilot plants plays an important role", says Torgny Persson.