The compunds before being spun together. Source: Rafael GrandeThe compunds before being spun together. Source: Rafael GrandeResearch conducted by teams from the University of British Columbia, Aalto University and the University of São Paulo have developed a fiber by spinning together chitin nanoparticles from blue crabs and a seaweed extract called alginate.

To combine the oppositely charged components, the alginate solution wound itself around the chitin nanoparticles to form fibrils that align in parallels as the thread moves up.

When spun together, the biobased material combines the antimicrobial properties of chitin and the durability of the seaweed extract to create long, continuous threads appropriate for use in the medical and textile industries. For instance, the developers believe the material could be used as thread for surgical procedures, as webbing for the engineering of internal tissue or as an ingredient in wound-healing, burn-treating or conditioning pads.

For more information, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering.

The research appears in an article titled Nanochitins of Varying Aspect Ratio and Properties of Microfibers Produced by Interfacial Complexation with Seaweed Alginate, which appears in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com