June 10, 2021
by University of Cambridge
Researchers have created a plant-based, sustainable, scalable material that could replace single-use plastics in many consumer products.
The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, created a polymer film by mimicking the properties of spider silk, one of the strongest materials in nature. The new material is as strong as many common plastics in use today and could replace plastic in many common household products.
The material was created using a new approach for assembling plant proteins into materials which mimic silk on a molecular level. The energy-efficient method, which uses sustainable ingredients, results in a plastic-like free-standing film, which can be made at industrial scale. Non-fading 'structural' color can be added to the polymer, and it can also be used to make water-resistant coatings.