Jets of salty water make cellulose strands stronger | Science News

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Jets of salty water make cellulose strands stronger

Jets of water accelerate cellulose nanofibrils, forcing them to align in the direction of the water flow, as shown in this artist's illustration. When the fibrils align and are left to dry, they lock together to form ultra-strong cellulose fibers.

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When blasted by jets of salty water, nanoscale cellulose fibers align to form ultra-tough strands that can be stronger than steel. The new method for streamlining the fibers creates cellulose strands that are stronger and thinner than what's been made previously and can be scaled up to make longer strands, researchers report June 2 in Nature Communications. The results offer a small step toward making wind turbines and other products from biobased materials and could also influence how carbon nanotube and graphene filaments and artificial silk are made, the scientists note.

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