Materials from Renewable Resources


The drive for greater use of renewable materials is one that has recently gained momentum due to the need to rely less heavily on petroleum. These renewable materials are defined as such since they are derived from plant-based sources. Some renewable materials also offer properties that conventional materials cannot provide: hierarchical structure, environmental compatibility, low thermal expansion, and the ability to be modified chemically to suit custom-made applications. Nature's materials, particularly from plant- and animal-based polysaccharides and proteins, have hierarchical structures, and these structures can be utilized for conventional applications via biomimetic approaches. This issue begins with an article covering renewable polymers or plastics that can be used to generate block copolymers (where two polymers with specific functions are combined) as an alternative to conventional materials. Applications of renewable polymers, such as cellulose from plants, bacteria, and animal sources, are also covered. Also presented are the use of bacterial cellulose and other plant-based nanofibers for transparent electronic display screens and, in a wider sense, the use of cellulose nanofibers for composite materials, where renewable resources are required to generate larger amounts of material. Finally, this issue shows the use of biomimetic approaches to take the multifunctional properties of renewable materials and use these concepts, or the materials themselves, in conventional materials applications.




Materials Science; Physics


Eichhorn, SJ; Gandini, A

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