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3rd December 2018, Manchester

Potential for graphene-strengthened jute

Scientists at The University of Manchester believe that jute and graphene in composites could prove a winning combination while boosting the farming economies of countries such as Bangladesh, India and China where the natural fibre is mainly produced.

Jute is extracted from the bark of the white jute plant and is a 100% biodegradable, recyclable and environmentally friendly natural fibre. It is also the second most produced natural fibre in the world after cotton and is at least 50% cheaper than flax and other similar natural fibres.

Jute is extracted from the bark of the white jute plant and is a 100% biodegradable. © The University of Manchester

Graphene-strengthened natural jute fibre composites have been developed by Forkan Sarker, a Commonwealth Scholarship recipient for Bangladesh. He has also produced data showing how graphene could be critical in the creation of a cheaper, more environmentally-friendly alternative to synthetic composites for end-uses in major manufacturing areas such as the automotive industry, ship building, durable wind turbine blades and low-cost housing.

“This is an example of a judicious combination of low-value, carbon-neutral commodity fibres with an extremely small volume fraction of high-value graphene in order to create a material system that could replace energy-intensive carbon and glass fibres in a number of light-weight structural applications,” said Professor Prasad Potluri, Director of Research at Manchester’s North West Composites Centre.

Jute is the second most produced natural fibre in the world after cotton. © The University of Manchester

Manchester University is home to the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre which provide an unrivalled critical mass of graphene expertise. The two facilities demonstrate Manchester’s position as a globally leading knowledge-base in graphene research and commercialisation.

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