Smart Foams project
The Smart Foams research project at Aalto University uses artificial intelligence to develop wood-based foams. Wood-based foam materials can replace Styrofoam and bubble wrap in packaging, for example. The researchers strive to optimize the properties of the foam. A mixture of lignin, wood fibre and laponite (nanoclay), for example, can be processed into shock and heat resistant foam and used instead of plastic.
Lignin is the compound that binds wood fibres together. As a dried foam it is hard and water resistant and even conducts electricity.