Singapore scientists create ‘reusable’ paper from plant pollen

Singapore scientists create 'reusable' paper from plant pollen General Knowledge
Despite the ubiquity of computers and electronic document management, humanity still consumes colossal amounts of paper, which requires wood to make. Therefore, many engineers and scientists are looking for technologies to create alternative materials, including those with the ability to “rewrite“. A new such “paper” was recently presented by the developers of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

According to scientists, the production of innovative material, unlike conventional paper, is practically harmless to the environment: it is suitable for standard full-color printing, and it can be reused up to eight times. The authors have already applied for an international patent.

It is worth recalling that traditionally paper is made from cellulose, which is obtained from wood and plant fibers. Up to 40 percent of all wood traded on world markets is used for these purposes, as a result, paper production makes a significant contribution to deforestation. In addition, the process, including bleaching, requires high temperatures and the use of chemicals that are harmful to humans and nature.

Therefore, scientists from Singapore turned to a plant product that renews itself naturally, quickly and without harming vegetation – pollen. Excess components are removed from it with alkali and solvents, so that no molecules that can cause allergies remain in the material. The material is washed with deionized water and cast into molds to air dry into flat sheets as thin as 0.03 millimeters. Finally, they are dipped in acetic acid, which reacts with the outer layer of the material and prevents moisture absorption.

The developers demonstrated such “paper” in action by printing a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” on it using a standard laser printerThe toner stays on it no worse than on the regular onealthough the color rendition is broken – howeverthis problem can be easily bypassed by additional printer calibration.

To remove the paintit is enough to place the sheet for a couple of minutes in a slightly alkaline solution and dry itAfter thatthe “paper” can be reusedexperiments have shown that it can withstand up to eight printing cycles without losing structural integrity.

Alexander Stephenson

Candidate of Chemical Sciences, editor-in-chief of Lecturer at several international online schools, member of the jury of chemistry competitions and author of scientific articles.

Rate author

Leave a Reply