A wood-based nanomaterial composed of cellulose nanocrystals and cellulose nanofibrils is being evaluated at the Forest Products Laboratory, in support of a project at the Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland. The material, presumably stronger than Kevlar, is being produced to create clear composites as reinforced glass for clear applications. US Forest Services has opened a $1.7 million pilot plant in Wisconsin to develop the wood-based nanomaterial, whose future applications may include windshield and high performance glass.
Under development for three years, the material has the potential to be the strongest and optically clearest version of celllulose nano-fibrils. Because wood is a renewable resource, the Forest Products Laboratory is optimistic that as the material enters the market, it will help reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while promoting industry growth in rural areas.