A new plant-based foam material offers a bio-degradable—and more effective—alternative to traditional Styrofoam.
The foam was created by a team from Washington State University, who used acid hydrolysis to break the cellulose bonds in wood pulp and convert them to nanocrystals. Adding polyvinyl alcohol to the crystals resulted in an elastic foam with a uniform cellular structure that provides good insulation while also remaining lightweight and able to support up to 200 times its weight. As an added advantage, the plant-based foam can also degrade well and does not create polluting ash when burned.
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