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ArboraNano Receives Funding To Pursue Nanomaterials Research

FPInnovations announced in February that ArboraNano -- the Canadian Forest NanoProducts Network has been selected as one of four new Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence funded by the Govern...


July 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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FPInnovations announced in February that ArboraNano — the Canadian Forest NanoProducts Network has been selected as one of four new Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence funded by the Government of Canada. ArboraNano is receiving $8.9 million over four years.

ArboraNano is a research and development network bringing together nanotechnology and forest sector expertise. It will strive to create a suite of highly-engineered, carbon-neutral products containing nanomaterials, using wood and wood fibre from Canada’s forests.

Dave McDonald, vice-president, pulp and paper, FPInnovations, says many of the new products will be based on a plant-derived nanomaterial: nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC), while others will use other nanomaterials in the development of new forest products. “NCC is a nanomaterial that has yet to establish a presence in the marketplace but that holds great promise. Research by FPInnovations scientists has shown that NCC has many remarkable properties, some of which are unique and others that are comparable to those of other well-known nanomaterials.”

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NCC can be economically extracted from trees. The properties of NCC and the many forms in which it can be made means that it has the potential to be used in many different ways, namely advanced building products, recyclable structural and interior components for the transportation industry, innovative coatings and fillers for papermaking, novel bioplastics, fibre-reinforced composites, switchable optical films, bio-composites for bone repair, additives for paints/pigments/inks and for cosmetic products, iridescent or magnetic films, electrically-conductive membranes, printed paper electronic devices, encapsulated quantum semiconductor crystal dots, and advanced or “intelligent” packaging materials. FPInnovations researchers have also shown the advantage of using nanomaterials other than NCC to significantly enhance the performance of forest products such as building materials, paper, board, packaging.

“Nanotechnology bridges a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and cuts across many industrial sectors. The growing interest in nanotechnology is a consequence of the promise this science holds to create new materials for a wide variety of manufactured goods,” states Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO, FPInnovations. “Nanotechnology is expected to represent a dominant force in economic growth over the next few decades and has been identified as a strategic platform for development. ArboraNano will build on this strategic platform and apply Canada’s forest resource to create new unique opportunities for Canadian manufacturing industries.”