Soon all those plastic Christmas trees could contain some real wood. A new discovery allows wood fibers to be combined with plastic to create light, biodegradable materials, say researchers at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry.Â Nanocrystals of cellulose are extracted from the wood pulp, then mixed with the plastic. According to William Winter, the SUNY professor in charge of the project, an ounce of crystals in a pound of plastic is enough to “increase the strength of the plastic by a factor of 3,000.” Typically glass, which takes centuries or longer to biodegrade, is the strengthener used in plastics.
Source: Scientists: Wood makes plastic stronger. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 20.
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