Composites are Key to Nano Commercialization

Around the world, researchers are finding more and more evidence that the frailty of our planet and the changes within its atmospheric patterns are in critical need of attention. Rapid population growth and an increasing need for landfills due to consumption of plastics and other non-biodegradable, petroleum-based materials are compounding an already alarming environmental trend.

At Georgia Tech’s Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI), faculty and students are engaged in a technology with tremendous potential to address some of these challenges: the pursuit of innovative use for nanocellulose and wood-derived lignin. The goal is to find more ways to replace synthetic materials in manufactured items that people around the world consume daily.
Over the past decade, RBI has identified commercial applications that include such diverse areas as automotive components, aerospace applications, electronics, cosmetic applications, food packaging, specialty paper, and polymer reinforcement.

“Nanocellulose provides a combination of properties that allows it to fill a unique niche in the nanomaterials arena,” said Meisha Shofner, RBI’s interim executive director and associate professor of materials science and engineering. “Its structural diversity, availability, and inherent properties are attractive for application-driven research.”

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