Why is paper considered stronger than steel?

Super paper is stronger than iron


Extremely thin cellulose fibers form a strong network

A team of Swedish and Japanese researchers has developed "Nanopaper", an extremely tear-resistant paper that is said to be even stronger than cast iron. The new type of paper consists of the finest cellulose fibers, which are obtained from cellulose in a new process. The scientists were able to combine the fibers into an extremely strong tissue, as the NewScientist reports. "With our new paper, conventional paper could be reinforced or extremely tear-resistant adhesive tape could be produced," says project manager Lars Berglund. However, the development also serves IT, because circuit boards could be manufactured on the basis of nanopaper.

A special production process

The scientists use a special production process in the manufacture of their super paper. First of all, the basic material of the paper, the cellulose pulp made from wood, has to be processed. To do this, the researchers use special enzymes. With a high pressure of 1,650 bar, the pulpy mass is finally pressed through a fine grid, whereby very long and extremely fine fibers are obtained from the material. These have a diameter of 20 nanometers, making them 5,000 times thinner than a human hair. With the help of a solvent, the scientists shape the fibers into thin webs. After drying, the new super paper is ready, the fibers of which form a solid network and are therefore responsible for the high stability.


According to the researchers, measurements have shown that the material has a tensile strength that is well above that of cast iron. The test results confirm that the nanopaper has a tear strength of 214 megapascals. For cast iron this value is 130, conventional paper has a value of one and structural steel 250. Another advantage of nanopaper is that the properties of the material can be influenced as desired, according to the researchers. Thus, the development has all the prerequisites to be able to implement a wide variety of applications - for example as a carrier material for electronic components. (Pte)

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