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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Computer chips made almost entirely from wood

As reported by Nature Communications, a study reports reveal that the researchers have found the material on the tree that are useful for the manufacture of computer chips.

The material is Cellulose NanoFibrils or CNF. This organic-based polymer used as the base layer of electronic circuits. The material is typically made by adding water to cellulose-containing materials (usually wood waste, as would be found at paper or lumber mills) then using high-pressure homogenizers, grinders or microfluidizers to rip the wood fibers into much smaller cellulose nanofibers. This results in a gel which is subsequently freeze-dried to remove the water, leaving the long, interconnected nanofibers behind.
One of the CNF computer chips. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1cm3Ehy)
Working with the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Products Library, the researchers added an epoxy coating to the CNF. This made the substrate smooth enough for application of the non-CNF circuitry (which makes up only a small part of the total chip), plus it kept the material from expanding or contracting by taking on or releasing moisture.

The scientists hope their new findings could be a solution to the handling of electronic waste. In the United States, as many as 3.2 million tons of electronic waste disposed of each year. By using environmentally friendly materials, electronic waste piles mounting increasingly insurmountable.

According to study leader Prof. Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma, the use of wood for computer chip materials is just two micrometers long and very safe to use. "If this chip is damaged after use, you can throw it in the woods and mushrooms will parse it," said Ma.

With computer chips are made from natural ingredients, is expected to reduce the amount of world's electronic waste.. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | GIZMAG]
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