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Research into cutting-edge nanopaper to feature on BBC’s One Show

Innovative research by scientists at the University of Exeter into the properties of nanopaper will be explored on the BBC’s flagship magazine programme, the One Show.

Professor Stephen Eichhorn will feature on the popular show on Monday, January 27, discussing the cutting-edge variety of paper, which is made from cellulose nanofibres, and its potential uses in the modern world.

Nanopaper, which was developed in 2008, is particularly resilient, and displays a specific strength (strength divided by density) greater than that of structural steel.

During the broadcast, Professor Eichhorn will explain more about the strength of nanopaper, and also do some mechanical testing to highlight its durability.

Professor Eichhorn, a member of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences said: “We have been exploring the properties of nanopaper for some time now and there is potential to use it in a variety of applications including high strength composites and for biomedical applications."

Nanopaper gets its strength from many linked cellulose nanofibres. It is produced in a similar fashion to traditional paper, but with prior mechanical grinding of the fibres.

This breaks down the fibres, which can be assisted using enzymes and by a carboxymethylation chemical treatment to produce fibres that are around 1,000 times smaller than those found in typical paper.

These tiny fibres link together resulting in a paper structure that is more than twice as strong as typical A4 office paper.

Professor Eichhorn said: "It was good fun and challenging to do the piece on nanopaper for the One Show and I'd like to thank the staff in X-AT (Exeter Advanced Technologies) for all their help in the testing that we carried out.”

The One Show is hosted by Chris Evans, Alex Jones and Matt Baker, and features topical stories and celebrated studio guests.

Professor Eichhorn’s research is due to be aired on the One Show on Monday 27 January.

Date: 27 January 2014

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