The invention belongs to a team of researchers from the “Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT)” English – Fraunhofer ICT in Pfinztal (Germany) and is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastics, which are derived from petroleum. Substance that underlies this new material called “Arboform” or “liquid wood” is biodegradable and is obtained by combining pulp, industrial plants (hemp, flax) and lignin.
What exactly is Liquid Wood?
This substance feels like wood, looks like wood and is in fact, made of wood, but also has the qualities of plastics such as it can be molded into different shapes and solidifies. German scientists and engineers are convinced that this revolutionary material will soon be widely used in all areas, successfully replacing the chemicals and plastics. Plastic was undoubtedly the invention of the 20th century, but we must not forget that plastic is made from petroleum (a non-renewable resource), is non-biodegradable and more than that, it contains toxic and carcinogenic substances that are extremely dangerous to human health.
Considered until recently a residual obtained in the manufacture of paper, lignin was used as fuel, but in recent years, research has shown that is the substance that gives the wood strength and that can get the form of granules, which can be melted. Thus has been obtained a material from which it can be manufactured almost everything from furniture, accessories, toys, plastic cover replacements for electronic products, food containers of any shape, up to the car bodies.
Researcher who worked with the company Tecnaro to achieve this material, Emilia Regina – Inoni, from the Institute of Chemistry Franhoefer, said Arboform can be destroyed and reused ten times without affecting the mechanical properties of the material, such as fire resistance and sustainability.
The only drawbacks for liquid wood could be the weight, much higher than of the ordinary plastics, and the manufacturing cost, almost double that of polypropylene, which is the most common plastic. However, beyond the beneficial effects on the environment compared to petroleum-derived plastics considered carcinogenic, liquid wood is a product made from natural substances. It is true that many products made of bio-plastic exist today, but they have a high contentment of chemicals (sulphurous substances) making them unsuitable for domestic use. The German scientists have succeeded to reduce the sulphurous substances content in liquid wood by about 90% making it a safe product for household use.
Need to find biodegradable construction materials has become a major concern for professionals worldwide because plastic waste decomposition have a period between 100 and 1000 years. Experts believe that soon Arboform will be the future material and will be used in all areas and appreciated at its true value.