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Paper composite a ‘future material’ for construction

United Kingdom – In a couple of years from now, walls might be made – quite surprisingly – from shredded paper, according to a new study conducted by Nottingham Trent University in the UK.

A newly-developed paper-based rigid composite is fire-resistant and just as strong as medium-density fibreboard (MDF), claim architecture and design specialists Dr Anton Ianakiev and Dr Anthony Crabbe. The material is made from a mixture of long strands of shredded paper and a sodium silicate gluing agent, which protects against flame and moisture.

The ratio of 80% paper and 20% sodium silicate is compressed under high pressures at 90°C. Apart from being quick to manufacture, the new composite can be moulded into various shapes.

′It′s very important that the materials of tomorrow are designed to be as sustainable as possible,′ notes Dr Ianakiev, a senior lecturer in civil engineering. He argues that shredded paper is widely available and could therefore become ′a viable construction material at a potentially low cost′.

The researchers are confident that the innovation will prove ′very appealing to the construction industry′. Project assistant Hooi Cheah adds: ′Recycled waste paper really could become an important future material for the construction industry as it is a more sustainable way of reprocessing waste paper than recycling it.′

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