Scientists just created a new "super wood" that’s stronger than steel

May 10, 2018 by  
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Spider silk has long held the record for being the strongest biomaterial on Earth — but that just changed. Scientists at KTH Royal Institute of Technology used wood nanofibers to create a new biomaterial that is even stronger than spider silk. Researchers “densified” wood to turn an already sturdy material into a “super wood” that is as strong as steel. To accomplish this, researchers aligned tiny cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) in the same direction to create tightly-packed little bundles. These bundles form a material that is super strong and could be used in everything from cars and planes to furniture. “This discovery is made possible by understanding and controlling the key fundamental parameters essential for perfect nanostructuring, such as particle size, interactions, alignment, diffusion, network formation and assembly,” said study co-author Daniel Söderberg. Related: Body armor could be made from genetically engineered spider silk “The bio-based nanocellulose fibers fabricated here are eight times stiffer and have strengths higher than natural dragline spider silk fibers, generally considered to be the strongest bio-based material,” Söderberg said. “The specific strength is exceeding that of metals, alloys, ceramics and E-glass fibers.” The study was published this week in the journal ACS NANO . + KTH Royal Institute of Technology Via New Atlas Image via KTH and Deposit Photos

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Scientists just created a new "super wood" that’s stronger than steel

‘World’s deepest plastic bag’ found in the Mariana Trench

May 10, 2018 by  
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Plastic pollution is a scourge upon the planet – and it turns out that it’s reached the deepest ocean trench on the earth. While studying man-made debris in the deep sea, scientists recently discovered a large number of single-use plastic products near the ocean floor – including a plastic bag in the Mariana Trench , almost 36,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. Plastics are now showing up in the very deepest, most remote parts of our planet. This plastic bag was found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, nearly 11km under water. It's time to #BreakFreeFromPlastics . Retweet if you agree. https://t.co/18RZyUIA4K pic.twitter.com/95Rts4vDyg — Greenpeace East Asia (@GreenpeaceEAsia) May 10, 2018 The bag, which The Telegraph referred to as the “world’s deepest plastic bag,” was one of 3,425 pieces of man-made debris from the past 30 years that scientists recorded in the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)’s Deep-sea Debris Database . Launched for public use last year, the database includes photographs and images of trash obtained by remotely-operated vehicles and deep-sea submersibles. While the bag’s discovery came to light in an April article for Marine Policy , JAMSTEC’s video of the debris lists the dive date as 1998. JAMSTEC led the team that wrote the article, which included researchers from the United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Center and Marine Works Japan . Related: “Extraordinary” levels of pollution found in deepest parts of the ocean The scientists said over 33 percent of the debris “was macro-plastic, of which 89 percent was single-use products, and these ratios increased to 52 percent and 92 percent, respectively, in areas deeper than 6,000 meters.” They spotted deep-sea organisms in 17 percent of the images of plastic debris, “which include entanglement of plastic bags on chemosynthetic cold seep communities.” Rubber, metal, glass, cloth, and fishing gear were among the other debris found. The scientists also sounded the alarm on plastic pollution’s threat to deep-sea ecosystems, pointing to a statistic estimating that almost 80 percent of global plastic waste generated from 1950 to 2015 remains in landfills or the environment , and has not been burned or recycled . According to the research team, “Minimizing the production of plastic waste and its flow into the coastal areas and ocean is the only fundamental solution to the problem of deep-sea plastic pollution.” You can check out a video of the Mariana Trench plastic on the JAMSTEC website . + Marine Policy Via The Telegraph Image via Depositphotos

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‘World’s deepest plastic bag’ found in the Mariana Trench

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