Tough New Bioinspired Material to Replace Petroleum-Based Plastics

All-Natural Bioinspired Structural Materials

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Based on various commercially offered basic materials (e.g., TiO2-mica, Fe2O3-mica), a range of natural bioinspired structural products with various colors can be made. Credit: GUAN Qingfang

Modern life relies carefully on plastics, despite the fact that the petroleum-based production produces severe ecological difficulties. The market pulls out to utilize sustainable products due to their minimal mechanical residential or commercial properties or intricate production procedures. An advanced method to style and produce high-performance sustainable structural products is of excellent requirement.

A brand-new bioinspired product is here to surpass petroleum-based plastics. A group led by Prof. Shu-Hong Yu from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) reports an approach to produce products with comparable structure as nacre from wood-derived fiber and mica, with adaption to mass production, great processability, and tunable pigmentation.

Bioinspired Material Mobile Phone Case

This figure reveals a smart phone case model made from this bioinspired product. Thanks to its great processability, the product can be made into preferred sizes and shape, revealing a huge capacity to change plastics for useful applications, for instance, structural assistance for high-end individual electronic gadget. Credit: GUAN Qingfang

Natural nacre has actually a hierarchically purchased structure at multiscale levels, similar to physicals, allowing it to be of both strength and strength. Inspired by nacre, the scientists imitate the purchased brick-and-mortar structure utilizing the TiO2 layered mica microplatelet (TiO2-mica) and cellulose nanofiber (CNF) by the proposed directional warping assembly approach.

This approach straight presses the hydrogel of TiO2-mica and CNF, while keeps the size on in-plane instructions the same. The density of the hydrogel is significantly lowered and products are straight built with the extremely purchased brick-and-mortar structure.

At the nanoscale, the TiO2 nano-grains on the surface area of TiO2-mica cause effective energy dissipation by frictional moving throughout TiO2-mica pull-out. All the hierarchically purchased structure at multiscale levels add to the load redistribution and strength improvement.

Large-Sized All-Natural Bioinspired Structural Material

Because the proposed manufacture approach, directional warping assembly, works and scalable, mass production of natural bioinspired structural product can be attained. Credit: GUAN Qingfang

The gotten products have exceptional strength (~281 MPa) and strength (~11.5 MPa m1/2), which are more than 2 times greater than those of high-performance engineering plastics (e.g., polyamides, fragrant polycarbonate), making it a strong rival to petroleum-based plastics.

Even much better, these products adjust to temperature level varying from -130 °C to 250 °C, while typical plastics quickly get soft at heat. Therefore, such products are more secure and more dependable at high or variable temperature levels.

Results are released in Nature Communications.

Reference: “An all-natural bioinspired structural material for plastic replacement” by Qing-Fang Guan, Huai-Bin Yang, Zi-Meng Han, Zhang-Chi Ling and Shu-Hong Yu, 3 November 2020, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19174-1

This biomimetic style of the extremely purchased brick-and-mortar structure supplies essential concepts to make sustainable structural products for plastic replacement. As being environmentally-friendly, having even much better mechanical and thermal residential or commercial properties than plastics, the products are anticipated to play an essential function in plastic replacement.

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