Washington, July 7 : Swedish researchers have developed a super-strong paper that they claim is nearly as tough as steel - and is feasible for use in the construction industry.
Lars Berglund of the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has revealed that the nano-paper is made from gently processed natural cellulose nano-fibres. He attributed the production of the super-strong material to a new process that helps pulp wood without damaging the properties of the natural fibres, something that prevents them from weakening.
The researcher says that the secret to the nanopaper's performance is not only the strength of the undamaged cellulose fibres, but also the way they are arranged into networks.
Though strongly bound together, he says, the cellulose fibres are still able to slip and slide over each other to dissipate strains and stresses.
Berglund also says that the individual cellulose fibres are also much smaller than in conventional paper.
"A regular paper network has fibres 30 micrometres in diameter, here we are at a scale three orders of magnitude smaller. The material (has) very small defects compared with a conventional paper network," Live Science quoted him as saying.
Upon mechanical testing, the researchers found that their new material had a tensile strength of 214 megapascals, which made it stronger than cast iron (130 MPa), and nearly as strong as structural steel used in buildings and bridges (250 MPa).