Wood bark: An excellent source of inspiration for packaging design
Taking inspiration from nature can benefit the design of packaging materials. Bark is a perfect example - it protects wood from external threats such as UV radiation and pathogens allowing wood cells to last longer. When the wood decays, the bark eventually decomposes completely in an environmentally friendly manner.
In a recent joint publication by Aalto University, VTT and Häme University of Applied Sciences, a fully wood-based double network material with tuneable bioactive and optical properties was produced from nanocellulose and willow bark extract. The material has potential in, for example, medical, pharmaceutical, food, and feed applications where biodegradability, UV shielding, and antioxidant properties are needed. In addition, it could be utilized as a functional barrier coating in packaging materials, increasing their environmental friendliness.
These findings are a part of the thesis work of Doctoral Candidate Tia Lohtander from Aalto University, supervised by Prof. Monika Österberg, Scientific co-PI of FinnCERES and advised by Suvi Arola from VTT and Päivi Laaksonen from Häme University of Applied Sciences.