Finns break ground with novel biomaterial
Scientists at Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a bio-based material that can offer a biodegradable alternative to plastic and be applied in medicine, packaging and textiles.
The new material, which is yet to be named, is a combination of synthetic spider silk protein and wood cellulose fibres. The resulting bioplastic mimics the best properties of plastic without the ecological toll.
The research team’s breakthrough overcomes an obstacle long faced by material scientists: how to bring together elasticity, flexibility and strength. They found inspiration in nature and in spider silk, one of the strongest materials out there.
New and versatile possibilities
The research is part of the Academy of Finland’s ongoing project on the molecular engineering of biosynthetic hybrid materials, which explores new ways in which biological and genetic engineering can enhance research in material science from the molecular to the nano level.
“In future, we could manufacture similar composites with slightly different building blocks and achieve a different set of characteristics for other applications. Currently we are working on making new composite materials as implants, impact resistance objects and other products.”