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Posted: February 14, 2008
Helsinki University and UPM to establish a Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies
(Nanowerk News) VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Helsinki University of Technology TKK and UPM to establish an internationally unique Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies Science, research and industrial partners are turning nanotechnology into evolving product platform.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Helsinki University of Technology TKK and UPM have today established an internationally unique Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies. It aims to create new applications for cellulose as a raw material, substance and end product. Cellulose-based nanofibres can be used to alter the structure of the material and create products that better correspond to future market needs.
The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies will start operating on 1 March 2008. Its operations will be centralised in Otaniemi, Espoo. The Centre will employ around 40 researchers. It is an equal consortium of three partners. The operations are being financed by public and private investments.
Cellulose fibres (30 micrometres wide, 2-3 millimetres long) consist of nanofibrils that are about one-thousandth of the dimensions of a cellulose fibre. One of the challenges in research is to produce large quantities of nanofibrils of even quality.
Nanofibrils provide a number of possibilities for treating wood fibre materials and adding completely new properties to them. The mechanical properties of raw materials can be improved, their moisture behaviour controlled, electrical properties changed or optical properties adjusted.
Applications include special papers, paper coating, packages and building materials. In addition to the paper and packaging industry, the construction, vehicle, furniture, electronics, food product and cosmetics industries can create added value for their products using tailored fibre materials.
The forest industry is going through a major transition, and the utilisation of new technologies will provide a means for strengthening the competitiveness in the sector. By combining basic research, applied research and productisation and business competence, the partners aim to speed up the launch of new profitable products on the world's market in the near future.