INNOVATION: All-Natural Bioinspired Structural Material.

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All-natural bioinspired structural materials with different colors. (Credit: GUAN Qingfang)

A team led by Prof. Shu-Hong Yu from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) reports a method to manufacture materials with similar structure as nacre from wood-derived fiber and mica, with adaption to mass production, good processability, and tunable coloration, states the university’s website. The obtained materials have excellent strength and toughness, which are more than 2 times higher than those of high-performance engineering plastics, making it a strong competitor to petroleum-based plastics.  Also, these materials adapt to temperatures ranging from -130 ℃ to 250 ℃, while other plastics easily get soft at high temperatures.