Can an Invasive Exotic Pest Make Better Materials for Industry and Medicine?
Image: Researchers demonstrate bending wood pulp with 30 percent tunicate added. Credit: B. Natarajan/NIST
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have combined derivatives of two surplus materials—wood pulp and dried-up pieces of an invasive exotic pest—to form a new composite material that is flexible, sustainable, nontoxic and UV light-reflective. The material, described in a new paper published in Advanced Functional Materials, could soon be used in a wide variety of applications, including food packaging, biomedical devices, building construction and the design of cars, trucks and boats.