Nano - bigger and better
The forest industry is going through a major transition. The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies established by VTT, TKK and UPM provides a unique platform for developing and utilising new technologies and for gaining a new competitive advantage in the sector.
The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies was established in March 2008 by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and UPM to create new applications for cellulose as a raw material, substance and end product. Cellulose-based nanofibres can be used to alter the structure of the material and to create products that better correspond to future market needs.
The centre, which currently employs around 40 researchers, is an equal consortium of three partners. The operations are funded by public and private investments.
New properties of nanofibrils
Cellulose fibres (30 micrometres wide, 2-3 millimetres long) consist of nanofibrils which are approximately one-thousandth of the dimensions of a cellulose fibre. One of the challenges for research is to produce large quantities of nanofibrils of an even quality.
Nanofibrils provide a number of possibilities for treating wood fibre materials and for adding completely new properties as well.
The benefits include improved mechanical properties better control of moisture behaviour and the ability to modify the electrical and optical properties of raw materials.
Smart and sustainable products and solutions
Applications include special papers, paper coating, packages and building materials. In addition to the paper and packaging industry, the construction, vehicle, furniture, electronics, food product and cosmetics industries can create added value for their products by using tailored fibre materials.
By combining basic research, applied research, productisation and business expertise, the partners aim to speed up the launch of new profitable products on worldwide markets in the near future.
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