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January 5, 2017

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Paper proves irresistible

A new type of waterproof and fire resistant paper has been developed by Shanghai researchers, who are applying for a national patent of invention.

The material is believed to be the world’s first kind of paper that can resist both water and fire.

It has been developed by a research team led by Professor Zhu Yingjie from Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Depending on its size and thickness, the inorganic paper can be used to preserve vital documents or to make high-temperature-resistant label paper, the researchers said.

Made from “ultralong hydroxyapatite nanowires,” the paper is both highly flexible and durable, and is unaffected by extreme conditions, such as the surrounding temperature reaching 200 degrees Celsius.

Thanks to a multi-layer structure, the paper resists water even when its surface is scratched or physically damaged. Other liquids such as milk, coffee, juice or tea could not stain the material, the researchers said.

Zhu said the paper’s resistant qualities to dirt and fog made it an ideal material for outdoor advertising boards.

“Dust and mud lying on the surface of the board can be easily washed away by rainwater, realizing its self-cleaning function,” Zhu said. The paper could also be used in separating oil from water, he added.

“We are still exploring applications for the new material, and its cost will be largely lowered when put into mass manufacture,” Zhu said.


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