Nano & Micro Fibres, The Answer To Pollution

We are in crazy desperate times. Currently, the world is using more resources than we have, destruction of nature accounts for 48.8% of the world's problems today, we have an surmounting plastic issue on the planet, but it is all not doom and gloom. Through every problem there is a solution in disguise, enter nanotechnology and micro fibrillated cellulose.

What exactly is nano & micro technology and how is it the answer to pollution? Well, it is all locked up in science and in nature.

Nano cellulose fibres of NCF were developed and discovered in a lab by Turbak, Snyder and Sandberg in the late 1970s at the ITT Rayonier labs in Whippany, New Jersey, USA. They used these fibres and processes to produce a gel-type material by processing wood pulp through a milk homogeniser at high temperatures with high pressures, completing the process by ejection impact against a hard surface. What was created through this process was Rayonier developed and patented the technology to bring it into the public space in the 1980s and gave free license to anyone who wanted to adopt this technology and create new uses for cellulose.

The core ingredients of this process are wood pulp, fibres, and water at a high temperature. It really is a simple recipe to produce materials and products from those materials that are natural, 100% non-toxic and biodegradable. From this simple recipe and the technological know-how you can produce Micro Fibrillated Cellulose (MCF) and Cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) which creates many applications and materials. NCF is the umbrella term for the use of cellulose, i.e. plants from well-defined MCF and CNC. However, they do all have very distinct properties.

 

Timber

Photo by FWStudio from Pexels

Microfibrillated Cellulose or cellulose fibrils are produced by a mechanical treatment either with enzymatic or chemical pre-treatment. The material is made up of long thin fibres that mesh together in a 3-dimensional relationship to each other. The fibres gel together in a cross-hatched way even if they are nano-sized, but this adds to the strength, tensile, and shear testing of the end material. In short, MCF is nature's answer to plastic, it is the polymer king or queen.

With the magic of hydroxyl bonding, the alchemy that brings them together, you have the basics of nature, cellulose fibres and water come together in this process and they mesh together. The shear capacity of the material is as strong as the hardest of timbers but has the functionality to be moulded, sprayed, or manipulated into many forms to create a versatile and authentically natural material solution.

Enter stage left…………...Zeoform.

Zeoform has taken the earth’s most abundant renewable resource, cellulose, and taken this organic polymer to market to create new materials that will revolutionise the next century of manufacturing and building products. Zeoform saw the need to implement the laws of nature and bring science together to provide scalable manufacturing solutions, why??? Because the Zeoform team can see that the world needs solutions. We need to look back to nature to give us some answers to what some of the world's largest and crippling problems are, plastics and poisons entering our waterways, industrialisation is out of control, and we keep using raw materials that are not being replenished. Our current industrialised manufacturing systems produce airborne, water, and landfill pollution, it is with all of these existential issues plaguing the team at Zeoform that they have developed a real solution for people, the planet.

Peanut chair

Over the last 30 years from the first development of the raw material, Zeoform inventor Martin Ernegg and CEO Alf Wheeler have developed, worked, and manipulated this material MFC into many products, didgeridoos, drums, chairs, architectural products, all-knowing that each and every item made using this technology could be biodegraded, reimagined or recycled. That’s right, the natural products made using MFC can be degraded in the most holistic of ways, back into the earth from whence they came. The essence of the tech and know how is underpinned by the elements of biomimicry, the science of reverse engineering nature to solve some of the most complex problems on the planet, so we can live in harmony with nature. It is these regenerative principles and elements that will see Zeoform revolutionise the way we look at products, how we manipulate them to live, how we design and conceptualise materials, and what legacy we all leave behind. I am excited to see what happens over the next 10 years and how the face of industrialised manufacturing will change implementing and using Zeoform, as it’s uses are many, and they have only touched the tip of the iceberg.