A research team led by Professor Nam Jae-Do from the School of Polymer Science and Engineering and Dr. Kim Young-Jun from the School of Chemical Engineering has succeeded in developing film and coating that have outstanding sunblock capacities, by using lignin.
Lignin is one of the main components of biomass and a component of trees. Since it absorbs carbon dioxide by photosynthesis when growing, the total amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide does not increase, which means that the material is carbon-neutral.
The research team extracted lignin from collected waste from a pulp factory and transformed the lignin into nano particles, which allows light to easily penetrate into the material. Then, they combined it with Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) made from sugar cane and corn, and developed a strong, and transparent film and coating. The transparent film showed more than 97.5 % sun block efficiency, and was certified through international standards that it is made from 100 % natural material biomass. It means that even if it is discarded with nothing done after being used, it will degrade over the course of time.
If infinite amounts of lignin can be commercialized, it would not only take an advantageous position in the environment-friendly market but could also become a core, sustainable resource to stop global warming. The research was published in Scientific Reports, which is an authoritative international academic journal, on March 8th.
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