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Thursday, 2 August 2018

Glueless glue, new textile fibres and replacements for microplastics

Is there no limit to what ionic liquids can do? They can help us make almost anything out of cellulose – in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. Ilkka Kilpelainen, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Helsinki, has stuck two square pieces of wood. Had they been glued together, we would have been able to smell it. But these pieces had been attached without glue, with the help of ionic liquids developed by Kilpelainen’s research group on the Kumpula Campus. “There’s no join between the pieces, they have become part of each other. Under a microscope, the cross section of the point where the two pieces meet just looks like an annual growth ring,” said Kilpelainen.
Cellulose Beads
Researchers on the Kumpula Campus are examining possibilities to replace the microplastics in shower gels, toothpastes and face washes with biodegradable cellulose beads that would be equally effective. Microplastics are a scourge upon our waterways and demand for a biodegradable alternative is high. For his master’s thesis, Matti Leskinen started to use ionic liquids to manufacture cellulose particles of varying sizes as candidates for replacing plastic microbeads.

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