Liquid wood

Renewable sources provide the raw materials for a growing variety of everyday products. One example is a meltable wood polymere called Arboform, which is injection-molded to produce different parts. In the near future, an extruder will form artists' crayons and cosmetic pencils.

Arboform was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT. But how can that be possible, given that wood neither melts nor dissolves in any common solvent.Lignin is the most commonly occurring natural polymer after cellulose.

In wood it holds the plant fibers together, forming a rigid but elastic composite material. In the paper industry, the two substances are separated using a chemical process. Engineers at ICT spin-off TECNARO in Eisenach, Thuringia, extract the lignin and mix it with natural fibers such as sisal, hemp or linen, along with certain additives and dyes, according to the customer's requirements.

Source: tecnaro.deAdded: 4 January 2006