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Paper Stronger Than Cast Iron

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the write-on dept.

Data Storage 327

TaeKwonDood writes "All paper is made of cellulose, which at the nanoscale level is quite strong, but paper processing makes large, fragile fibers that break easily. Researchers in Sweden have have come up with a manufacturing process that keeps the fibers small, resulting in 'nanopaper' with over 1.6 times the tensile strength of cast iron (214 megapascals vs. 130 mPa). And since cellulose is the most abundant organic compound on the planet, it's cheap to use compared to other exotic, expensive-to-produce options — such as carbon nanotubes."

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327 comments

First! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719363)

Paper rules!

Re:First! (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719445)

This is hardly surprising given that the source for most paper is wood, and wood has the highest tensile strength of any building material known to man based either on weight or cross sectional area.

Not a lot of our building techniques rely primarily on tensile strength, most rely on spanning gaps with weight bearing members. But if you have to hang something heavy, Wood is your friend.

Tensile strength does come into play on collapsing structures, as weight bearing members are removed, and buildings end up hanging from their walls or rafters. Firefighters really dislike entering steel framed buildings, when fighting active fires because steel softens and collapses without warning, where as wood groans and snaps and gives ample warning that it is about to collapse.

Re:First! (5, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719675)

wood has the highest tensile strength of any building material known to man based either on weight or cross sectional area.

No, steel does. That's why I-beams are steel, not wood. It's also why the cables in suspension bridges are steel, not wood poles.

Not a lot of our building techniques rely primarily on tensile strength, most rely on spanning gaps with weight bearing members.

And what determines how well you can span a gap? A combination of compressive and tensile strength. You need to revise your beam bending...

Tensile strength does come into play on collapsing structures, as weight bearing members are removed, and buildings end up hanging from their walls or rafters.

So what does some in to play? Probably a mixture of tensile and compressive strength, depending on what is failing and why.

Oh where... (0, Offtopic)

Offtopica (413375) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719783)

OK... Offtopic...

I'm curious, tho!

Where do people go lately? Slashdot has gotten so boring since the trolls were driven out. Kruo5hin is dead Dead DEAD.
Fark is 4chan. And same. Something Awful is a good scratch of the hemorrhoids, nothing more and nothing less. Digg NO. Ever.

Am I missing anything?

Yes. I miss BBSs.

sign me,
OLD

Re:Oh where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23720175)

We've gotten back into radio [phil21.net] and fan forums [joerogan.net]

-- Other Slashdot Users

Re:First! (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720101)

> No, steel does. That's why I-beams are steel, not
> wood. It's also why the cables in suspension
> bridges are steel, not wood poles.

The same weight of wood would be stronger.

Some respect has to be paid to longevity. Who would use wood suspension cables in termite country?

There are also problems of attaching wood to other objects. Hard to weld wood you know.

Re:First! (4, Informative)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720183)

The same weight of wood would be stronger.
But not the same cross-sectional size.

What is Tensile Strength (5, Informative)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720165)

serviscope_minor wrote:

icebike wrote:

wood has the highest tensile strength of any building material known to man based either on weight or cross sectional area.
No, steel does...
There seems to be some confusion about what tensile strength is. Tensile strength is how well a material can resist pulling, not bending or compression. A rope can show off the tensile strength of a material even though it has no bending strength or compression strength.

Even when adjusting for weight, the tensile strength of wood isn't so great compared to S-glass or carbon fiber. And when adjusting for cross sectional area, the tensile strength of wood fares even worse because it has a lot of air in its pores.

Re:What is Tensile Strength (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720303)

There seems to be some confusion about what tensile strength is. Tensile strength is how well a material can resist pulling, not bending or compression.
Exactly, for example, ordinary toilet paper has poor tensile strength, resulting in many a brown finger for some. Let's hope this will stop with our new, stronger-than-steel paper. On the downside we may expect a few more red fingers.

Re:First! (3, Interesting)

cez (539085) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719765)

I think the interesting aspect of this is the tensile strength ratio to mass or weight... at first I figured nanopaper would be mad stacked and heavy... but from the FA:


The new nanopaper is "quite interesting," says Mike Wolcott, a materials scientist and cellulose fiber expert at Washington State University in Pullman. In addition to making paper stronger, the nanopaper has large pores between the fibers, which should also make it easier and cheaper to dry, thus reducing the cost of any final product, he says. And because cellulose is the most abundant organic compound on the planet, nanopaper has the potential to be cheaper than more-exotic, expensive-to-produce nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes, says John Simonsen, a physical chemist and nanocrystalline cellulose expert at Oregon State University in Corvallis.


apparently the nanobonds are more porous... would be nice to see some comparison statistics on the physical properties between nanopaper and regular paper per square inch say.

Re:First! (4, Informative)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719827)

Icebike wrote
>...wood has the highest tensile strength of any building material known to man based either on weight or cross sectional area.

I Think your estimate of wood is much too high. Wikipedia's article of tensile strength http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensile_strength lists pine wood at 40 MPa    I know there are some woods that are significantly stronger but still.

For comparison some other tensile strengths listed in MPa are:

Cast Iron           200
structural steel    400
steel piano wire   2500
Concrete              3
HDPE plastic         37
Aluminum Aloy       455
Glass              4710
Carbon fiber       5650
Carbon nanotubes  63000

Re:First! (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719949)

Some wood is a lot stronger (even some types of pine) and have tensile strengths upwards of 130.

I think what the gp was trying to say is by weight it may (depending on wood type) have a higher tensile strength.

It's one of the reasons we are so interested in kevlar and spider silk and carbon nanotubes for various things... lighter for similar strength of created object - regardless of it's tensile strength for the same size object.

Re:First! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719831)

This is hardly surprising given that the source for most paper is wood, and wood has the highest tensile strength of any building material known to man based either on weight or cross sectional area.

Not a lot of our building techniques rely primarily on tensile strength, most rely on spanning gaps with weight bearing members. But if you have to hang something heavy, Wood is your friend.

Tensile strength does come into play on collapsing structures, as weight bearing members are removed, and buildings end up hanging from their walls or rafters. Firefighters really dislike entering steel framed buildings, when fighting active fires because steel softens and collapses without warning, where as wood groans and snaps and gives ample warning that it is about to collapse.
well I think the theory is that steel and concrete are very poor fuels, high compression strength and fairly tolerant to insect attacks.

Stop thinking buildings. Think vehicles.

We have 5000 lb shells to tow our important asses about. Cut that weight and you save gas. ($)

Plus a bullet proof paper airplane has got to be worth a few kudos.

Could be the invention of the year, unless mcdonalds comes up with a healthy big mac.

coolcalt

Oh come on fellow geeks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23720195)

But if you have to hang something heavy, Wood is your friend.
You people disappoint me.

capacha: emitting

Re:First! (2, Funny)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720307)

Ever tried writing on iron? Not as easy... and folding it to put it in your pocket tends to be difficult.

On another note, mPa? Really? 214 megapascals vs 130 MILLIpascals? Ever heard of SI? That lack of capitalization causes problems. : )

(it's from TFS, guys)

It's strong enough to build a ship (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719371)

It's strong enough to build a ship out of... as long as you don't get it wet.

Re:It's strong enough to build a ship (1)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719485)

..or a paper aeroplane. ding ding tssh.
thank you, thank you, i'll be here all week.

Re:It's strong enough to build a ship (3, Funny)

Beavertank (1178717) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719541)

Ding ding tssh? These words you keep using... I don't think they mean what you think they mean.

Re:It's strong enough to build a ship (4, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720035)

I think Ding Ding Tssh is the new annoying yet lovable character in the next Star Wars film.

next time (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719787)

it's "*badum-psht*"

Iron Man's nemesis... PAPER MAN (5, Funny)

Armon (932023) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719381)

Coming next summer, the Epic battle between Robert Downy Jr. as Iron Man, and an unknown antagonists who goes by the mysterious PAPER MAN! /attempt at humor

Re:Iron Man's nemesis... PAPER MAN (4, Funny)

unspokenchaos (1295553) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719527)

perhaps they'll have the entire cast of ROD... hehe...

Re:Iron Man's nemesis... PAPER MAN (4, Informative)

solitas (916005) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719721)

No no no - the girls were the GOOD GUYS, remember? That big trenchcoated mook with the glasses was one of the bad guys. And he dead now.
Awesome anime - did they ever do more?

Re:Iron Man's nemesis... PAPER MAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23720017)

There was a good yuri-themed manga too. It gave a real introduction for the writer character you might know from the longer TV series. A bit more than just implied relationship with Noriko-very cute.

Re:Iron Man's nemesis... PAPER MAN (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719599)

There's actually an anime with a paper-powered superhero.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Lxn5y2Xe8

Great, but is it fireproof? (4, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719387)

Or treatable to be fire-resistant?

I can see a lot of uses for it even if it isn't. But I can see some fairly awe-inspiring ones if it's possible.

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (5, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719507)

Or treatable to be fire-resistant?

I can see a lot of uses for it even if it isn't. But I can see some fairly awe-inspiring ones if it's possible.
Guy 1: BWAHAHAHA, BEWARE my super-robot made with nanopaper! It's stronger than steel!
Guy 2: *lights match*
Robot: *FWOOOM*
Guy 1: :(

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719573)

Could be it doesn't matter for a lot of applications. Houses aren't fireproof, in fact a lot of things arent: clothes, boxes, guitars, plastic, etc. Cast Iron isn't exactly the strongest stuff around, so obviously tensile strength isn't the only important thing in a material. Apparently there is a lot research going on these days about how to make stronger paper. Some links at the bottom of the article.

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (4, Interesting)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719677)

I suddenly had an image of Japanese-style paper walls made of this stuff. I wonder how much this would cost after it becomes commonplace? Would it be a viable replacement for drywall or wood? Would it be a good insulator?

Interesting indeed.

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (3, Informative)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720015)

If nothing else, it will revolutionize the packaging industry. Strong cardboard boxes are a holy grail of packaging.

Other uses? Paper airplanes, coat it with plastic and make a really cheap fishing boat, tape that won't break, temporary floor, single-use knife, non-toxic circuit board for cheap toys... This is a breakthrough in the highest meaning of the word.

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23720357)

Houses aren't fireproof


Correction: Wood houses.

There are enough houses, particularly in Europe, which are made mostly of bricks, concrete, and steel. (Floors, even on the second/third levels are made of poured concrete and supported by steel beams.)

They are as close to fireproof as it gets, except perhaps the roof.

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (2, Funny)

Ilan Volow (539597) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719807)

I understand where you're going with this, but I'd doubt that Martha Stewart would take a paper frying pan seriously.

Re:Great, but is it fireproof? (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720237)

Actually, you are probably right. More porous and stronger? Sounds like a new paper towel to me. Hmmm what other paper products do we use that might benefit?

Saturated paper products: Tar paper, sheetrock, and other products that are basically using paper to contain some other product, etc.

Non-saturated: string spindles et al, books, food and product packaging materials, shipping materials...

If it turns out that thicker pieces constructed with pressure or other methods, perhaps we'll finally get a throwaway computer or dvr case? Perhaps we'll find that a lot of carbon based plastics might be better created with nanopaper processes? How much oil would that save? How much cleaner could commercial enterprises become?

There are a lot of things that paper is only just a bit less suitable than some other product that creates pollution or distributes toxins either during creation or after it's use.

Obviously, I'm not the expert, but if this can make some of that come true it will be a very good thing.

Milli-pascal? (5, Informative)

dascandy (869781) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719397)

> 214 megapascals vs. 130 mPa

214 megapascal (singular, it's a unit) is about 1.6*10^9 more than 130 millipascal. Use your units properly.

Re:megapascal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719513)

1 megapascal - singular
214 megapascals - plural - there are 214 of them

You do not pluralize when using a symbol, such as mPa, but you do pluralize when written out.

Re:Milli-pascal? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719579)

What's he trying to say is that those units should be MPa (capital M and capital P) for both.

Also most steels are above 400 MPa (some as high as 1800) so this isn't that strong, in fact Aluminum alloys can reach into the 400 MPa range.

Cast Iron (in its 2 major forms grey & white cast) is very brittle and therefore does not have good tensile strength. However compressive strength and its good vibration tolerance is why a lot of large machining equipment uses a cast iron base.

Re:Milli-pascal? (4, Funny)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719793)

Use your units properly.
AND they should be using MebiPascals: "204 MiPa vs. 124 MiPa".

IEC 60027-2 : making life easier for everyone since 1999.

Re:Milli-pascal? (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720169)

Use your units properly.
AND they should be using MebiPascals: "204 MiPa vs. 124 MiPa".
Mebi they shouldn't.

Re:Milli-pascal? (2, Informative)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720207)

Also, why would they use the tensile strength of CAST iron? The tensile strength of rolled red steel is 350 MPa, and that's what is used for tensile applications, like.... almost everything. Cast iron is used for compressive purposes, because of it's ease of manufacture, and strength in compression only.

Finally... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719409)

the final piece of the puzzle falls into place and the product to make my composting underwear becomes a reality

1.6 times (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719449)

over 1.6 times the tensile strength of cast iron
Considering that cast iron isn't particularly renown for its tensile strength, being 1.6 times stronger isn't that impressive.

Re:1.6 times (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720309)

over 1.6 times the tensile strength of cast iron

Considering that cast iron isn't particularly renown for its tensile strength, being 1.6 times stronger isn't that impressive.

0.6 times stronger. The word "stronger" adds 1 to the factor.

Don't they realize... (3, Insightful)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719461)

But... cast iron has the tensile strength on the order of concrete. Which is to say, not much at all. Good job guys, you've shown that paper is about as strong as... paper! How did this get published?

Re:Don't they realize... (1)

Zosden (1303873) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719499)

It sounds awesome though. And who would make a ship out of cast iron or steel I would use super paper.

Re:Don't they realize... (5, Informative)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719501)

Oops, just RTFA'd. They didn't show that paper was as strong as paper. They made paper twice as strong as old "high strength" paper. Which still has very, very little tensile strength. Comparing to cast iron really doesn't help their case.

Re:Don't they realize... (4, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719725)

But... cast iron has the tensile strength on the order of concrete.

I think you might be two orders of magnitude off. Cast iron shows up as having around 130 to 200MPa (depending on your figures), concrete shows up at 3MPa. Having used it, cast iron can be pretty cheesy stuff. But I imagine that strength-to-weight is pretty good.

One point about grey cast iron (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719531)

The tensile strength of grey cast iron is fairly low because the carbon comes out in the form of graphite. That's right - the same thing that is in pencils. When you have large flakes of graphite, say a few millimetres in size, you have a fairly low tensile strength (stretch it and it breaks) and low toughness (drop it and it cracks). The compressive strength isn't so bad and cast iron is a lot easier to make than steel which is why it is still used.

With the paper there is the advantage that small particle sizes dramaticly increase strength.

Re:One point about grey cast iron (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719809)

The tensile strength of grey cast iron is fairly low because the carbon comes out in the form of graphite.
This all reminds me of Gibson's Virtual Light

Nigel did work for some of the other riders at Allied, ones who still rode metal. He hadn't liked it when Chevette had gone for a paper frame. Now she bent to run her thumb along a specially smooth braise. 'Good one,' she agreed.

'That Jap shit delaminate on you yet?' 'No way.'

'S gonna. Bunny down too hard, it's glass.'

'Come see you when it does.'
...
The frames looked as though they'd been carved from slabs of graphite. Maybe they had, she thought; there was graphite around the paper cores in her bike's frame, and it was Asahi Engineering.
There are already bike frames made out of graphite & epoxy, why not throw in some paper?

Re:One point about grey cast iron (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720369)

A well seasoned cast iron implement also has the advantage of being relatively non-stick without the use of teflon or anything else which tends to flake off into food or otherwise degrade, which is, in my opinion, useful.

Paper Cut (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719537)

I can't wait to make chinese stars outta this stuff. Brings a whole new meaning to the word papercut.

Ikea furniture was cheap before... (4, Funny)

TRAyres (1294206) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719539)

But now it will be INDESTRUCTABLE as well!

Fantastic!

Re:Ikea furniture was cheap before... (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719705)

It will still fall apart with the slightest exposure to moisture though.

Re:Ikea furniture was cheap before... (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720001)

And when TFA mentioned "large pores" my first thought was "uh-oh, beware for inkjet users"!

The Pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719545)

Yeah, they tried that one on me when someone claimed that the pen was mightier then the sword.

cast iron? (4, Informative)

Tmack (593755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719583)

Really, cast iron is weak in comparison to a lot of metals. 130mPa is also the ultimate strength of human bone [wikipedia.org] , which would have made a much more interesting comparison. Cast iron isnt really used as much for anything anymore since steel is much stronger and is almost as cheap. The article's claim to replacing carbon nano tubes is a bit of an exaderation, as they have a strength of 62GPa

Tm

Re:cast iron? (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719777)

I think the comparison is a good one, though. Even though we might not use cast iron in much since it's been replaced by steel, this paper offers a greater strength using a material that is more common and easily made. Not only that, but it's lighter than ORDINARY paper, which means it's much, much lighter than cast iron.

When treated with a coating for water- or flame-proofing, this could easily replace wood, plastic, or cardboard in existing situations. Imagine using this in an airplane, for example.

Re:cast iron? (5, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#23720373)

Cast iron's not exactly dead. It's still good for producing relatively intricate parts cheaply. As long as you don't require high accuracy on every surface, you can have a really complex part that's only somewhat more expensive than the scrap iron that goes into it.

Think of a thin stationary engine housing with fins to dissipate heat -- you usually don't care if the fins are within 0.25" of where they're supposed to be; as long as air can pass over them they can do their job. As far as the important surfaces, such as the ones that hold the bearings or that mate with another housing, sure, you'll have to machine those. But if you had to machine all those fins from a solid steel block, or cut a bunch and weld them all on, you'd easily spend three times the money on labor and tooling and have a part that doesn't last as long as a casting.

There are many different alloys of cast iron, and they each have their own set of properties. All are much harder than ordinary steels, and usually have excellent wear resistance. Some alloys allow for more intricate castings. Some are easier to machine. And some, such as white iron, are extremely brittle and almost worthless in tensile strength, but can be treated to crazy levels of hardness. It all depends on your application, and in which properties you require. Steel can't simply be "dropped-in" as a replacement material. Hell, sometimes you can't even substitute ductile cast iron for malleable cast iron.

And I wouldn't count on being able to substitute paper for cast iron, either!

Can you imagine the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719653)

paper cuts from this stuff?

Only 1.6 times? (1)

tpheiska (1145505) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719761)

I would tend to think that "214 megapascals vs. 130 mPa" would be a bit more than 1.6 times bigger, say something in the magnitude of 1e9.

I hope kleenex is strong! (0, Troll)

Corky Devereaux (1299435) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719821)

Tonight I plan to open my autographed copy of The Difference Engine, paste a picture of myself to the inside flap of the dust jacket, and gaze upon it while masturbating furiously [blogspot.com] for approximately 20 minutes. I will be away from electro-mail and text-casting during that time. If anyone needs to reach me, please contact my agent.

Health concerns? (2, Interesting)

wtfispcloadletter (1303253) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719869)

There's already health concerns and risk with other nano technologies, what about paper? I'm around printers all day long and see a great deal of paper dust. What if there were made up of nano particles and got into the respiratory system of people?

But my dog tried to eat my homework! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719907)

Ah, the solution to the problem of the dog eating your homework.

Durability over time? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719917)

I wonder if the high mechanical strength of this paper translates to good stable archival properties as well... physical records are still important for some things, and cheaper archival quality materials would be a Good Thing.

Duh, Cast Irons tensile strength is rather low. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23719939)

Cast Iron is fairly brittle and a lousy comparison for tensile strength.

A return to former tech? (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 5 years ago | (#23719943)

I wonder if this could be used in the construction of body armor. Paper armor was employed in medieval Japan, and it'd be interesting to see a resurgence. Being paper, it should be fabulously lightweight; I wonder how it stacks up against ballistic impacts...

Card bucking ford! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23720069)

Phucking kick ass! A board made of card!

Now you can really make paper-knife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23720189)

Use paper knife to cut iron sheets?
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