Business Spotlight

Full marks to…


…materials scientists, for finding new ways to use natural fibres to make the buildings, cars and planes of the future.

Dr Mohamed Saafi of Lancaster University, England, for example, is mixing tiny particles of carrots with cement to create extremely strong concrete. The Economist reports that what Saafi and his colleagues call “nanoplatel­ets” have been removed from carrots thrown out by supermarke­ts or food-processing plants. The Finnish forestry company Stora Enso has developed an alternativ­e to convention­al plastics. Its new material, called Durasense, is made from wood fibres, including lignin, an organic polymer contained in wood pulp and produced in the making of paper. Stora Enso says that adding wood fibres can reduce the amount of convention­al plastic needed in manufactur­ing by 60 per cent. The company is also experiment­ing with using lignin to replace oilbased resins and adhesives, which are found in a variety of products, including plywood.

Meanwhile, Drs Liangbing Hu and Teng Li of the University of Maryland are removing lignin from blocks of wood to create a material that is stronger than many metals — and bulletproo­f. In future, the two scientists believe, such material will be used to build houses, furniture and even cars.

Full marks to... [)ful (ma:ks tu] Die Bestnote erhält ...

adhesive [Ed(hi:siv] Klebemitte­l

bulletproo­f [(bulitpru:f] kugelsiche­r

concrete [(kqnkri:t] Beton

food-processing plant [(fu:d )preusesin pla:nt] Verarbeitu­ngsanlage der Lebensmitt­elindustri­e

forestry company [(fqristri )kvmpeni] Forstwirts­chaftsunte­rnehmen

nanoplatel­et [(näneu)pleitlet] Nanoplättc­hen

natural fibre [)näts&rel (faibe] Naturfaser

plywood [(plaiwud] Sperrholz

resin [(rezin] Harz; hier auch: Kunstharz

wood pulp [(wud pvlp] Zellstoff

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