Robotics

Multifunctional metallic backbones for origami robotics

Origami robots can be formed by tightly integrating multiple functions of actuation, sensing and communication. But the task is challenging as conventional materials including plastics and paper used for such robotic designs ...

Engineering

Engineers 3-D print smart objects with 'embodied logic'

Even without a brain or a nervous system, the Venus flytrap appears to make sophisticated decisions about when to snap shut on potential prey, as well as to open when it has accidentally caught something it can't eat.

Energy & Green Tech

Plant scraps are the key ingredient in cheap, sustainable jet fuel

Scientists in China have developed a process for converting plant waste from agriculture and timber harvesting into high-density aviation fuel. Their research, published March 21 in the journal Joule, may help reduce CO2 ...

Engineering

Printed 3-D structures based on cellulose nanocrystals

Empa researchers have succeeded in developing an environmentally friendly ink for 3-D printing based on cellulose nanocrystals. This technology can be used to fabricate microstructures with outstanding mechanical properties, ...

Cellulose

Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula (C6H10O5)n, a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β(1→4) linked D-glucose units.

Cellulose is the structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, many forms of algae and the oomycetes. Some species of bacteria secrete it to form biofilms. Cellulose is the most common organic compound on Earth. About 33 percent of all plant matter is cellulose (the cellulose content of cotton is 90 percent and that of wood is 50 percent).

For industrial use, cellulose is mainly obtained from wood pulp and cotton. It is mainly used to produce cardboard and paper; to a smaller extent it is converted into a wide variety of derivative products such as cellophane and rayon. Converting cellulose from energy crops into biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol is under investigation as an alternative fuel source.

Some animals, particularly ruminants and termites, can digest cellulose with the help of symbiotic micro-organisms that live in their guts. Cellulose is not digestible by humans and is often referred to as 'dietary fiber' or 'roughage', acting as a hydrophilic bulking agent for feces.

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