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The Final Word by Helen Roush

In a recent press release from Mercer International, it announced a collaborative enterprise with Resolute Forest Products, Performance BioFilaments, in the development and market introduction of nanfilbrillated cellulose (NFC).

The press release states that "NFC's unique nanostructure offers unparalleled strength and diverse rheological properties obtained through an environmentally and economically efficient mechanical refining process. The material is being rigorously researched for its applicability in reinforcing plastics, concrete, and industrial parts, targeting key sectors such as automotive and aerospace. Sustainability imperatives and regulatory demands underscore NFC's role as an economic and environmental game-changer across industries."

The press release goes on to state that "Regarding paints and coatings, the distinctive rheological characteristics take center stage. Cellulose fibrils showcase a unique trait called thixotropy, rendering them viscous and resistant to flow during regular circumstances. However, under agitation or stress, their viscosity experiences a notable decrease. By blending cellulose nanofibers with paints or coatings, producers have the potential to precisely adjust the flow attributes of their goods, thereby enhancing overall performance.

The focus is on advancing three specific application domains, including (1) reinforcement of thermoset and thermoplastic materials, (2) enhancing concrete durability and strength, and (3) adjusting solution viscosity through rheology modification. Thermoset and thermoplastic refer to two polymer categories consisting of large molecules composed of repeating units. These polymers exhibit distinct traits and behaviours due to variations in their molecular structures and responses to heat and pressure."

In another recent article from CNN, it states that people are making furniture out of cardboard.

The article states that "In the wealthy neighborhood of Mayfair in London, Gallery Fumi -- a contemporary design space -- is showcasing a new collection of furniture. This would be no surprise were it not for the incongruous material these chairs and tables are made from: cardboard."

Amazon announced in a recent press release its first automated US fulfillment center to eliminate plastic delivery packaging.

The press release states that "Our highly automated Amazon fulfillment center in Euclid, Ohio is the first in the U.S. to replace plastic delivery packaging with paper packaging solutions that are curbside recyclable. Like most retailers, Amazon has traditionally used a mix of plastic and paper packaging to optimize for durability, weight, and size. However, recycling plastic packaging generally requires customers to head to a drop-off location, so our packaging engineers have been researching and experimenting for years to ensure we find the right solutions to deliver products to customers with paper.

By rebuilding existing machines to use paper instead of plastic, creating durable and flexible paper packaging, improving made-to-fit technology, and transitioning from plastic air pillows to paper filler, the team enabled the Euclid fulfillment center to transition fully to paper packaging. This work is part of a multiyear effort to convert U.S. fulfillment centers to paper, and these new paper solutions will provide the convenience of allowing many customers to recycle at home."

We will keep you apprised of further developments in innovation.

Helen Roush is Executive Vice President of Paperitalo Publications.


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