Manchester University team creates a graphene-strengthened natural jute fibre

A research team at Manchester University has created a graphene-strengthened natural jute fibre composite that may lead to the large-scale production of this sustainable material. This could boost farming economies in India, Bangladesh, and China.


Thegraphene-strengthened natural jute fibre developed at Manchester University

The National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at Manchester University has created a new natural fibre by adding graphene to jute. The research team has stated that this natural fibre could be used to replace synthetic composites in industries including the automotive industry, ship building, durable wind turbine blades, and low-cost housing.

The research team claimed that, should this fibre composite be produced on a large scale, it will give a boost to farming economies in India, Bangladesh, and China where jute is commonly produced.

Jute is extracted from the bark of the white jute plant (Corchorus capsularis) and is a sustainable material. Jute is bio-degradable, recyclable, and environmentally friendly and is the second most produced natural fibre in the world after cotton.

Other benefits of jute are that it is 50 percent cheaper than other natural fibres like flax and that it can replace non-sustainable fibres like glass fibre. Using natural fibres has the potential to reduce business’ carbon footprints.

Although natural fibres are eco-friendly, they can often be weaker than the alternatives. In order to solve this problem, the research team coated jute fibres with graphene oxide and graphene flakes. This made the fibre far stronger and a real alternative to synthetic materials.
 

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