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Mercer, Resolute venture Performance BioFilaments boosts biomaterial innovation

September 6, 2023  By P&PC, Mercer International


Mercer International and Resolute Forest Products have joined forces to boost biomaterial innovation with their collaborative enterprise, Performance BioFilaments. The venture is a pivotal initiative in the development and market introduction of nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC).

Performance BioFilaments is committed to harnessing the commercial potential of nanofibrillated cellulose, a promising biomaterial emerging on the global stage, says Mercer in a press statement.

Mercer explains in a press statement 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.

Mercer further explains, cellulose filaments are a subset of nanofibrillated cellulose derived from conventional kraft pulp, consisting of 95 percent cellulose and five percent hemicellulose. In a wet state, the pulp resembles white polyester pillow filling. Yet, through the application of mechanical energy, the cellulose fibres undergo delamination, transforming into singular nano-sized filaments or fibrils. Delamination refers to the process in which layers of a material, typically in a composite structure, separate or split from each other due to various factors such as mechanical forces, heat, or chemical reactions. This separation leads to forming distinct layers or thin sheets within the material, often resulting in a loss of structural integrity and performance. In the context of cellulose fibres, delamination is the mechanism through which individual nano-sized filaments or fibrils are created by breaking down the original cellulose fibres under the influence of mechanical energy.

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