Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have used artificial intelligence (MI) tools to create a foam with a natural base that can be an effective substitute for plastics used in packaging. The new wood fiber material withstands vibration well and is resistant to moisture: it is very similar in nature to cork, only much lighter than that.
Researchers say that the use of MI has significantly accelerated the process of material development. This process is traditionally very slow and completely unpredictable in terms of its results, as new materials with favorable properties are often found completely by accident. A typical example is the discovery of Teflon: the most slippery material in the world was discovered by an American chemist while studying refrigerated gases, sawing off a “sunken” freon bottle and scratching out the white powder stuck to the bottle wall out of curiosity.
The Finnish researchers therefore used machine learning in their project, which allowed them to cut off a number of buttermilk letters from the development process.
Eco-friendly wood foam has a number of advantages: cheap, fire and water resistant, it is lightweight and good insulator, so it can be of interest not only to the packaging industry but also to the construction industry. And on top of all that, it has another astonishing feature: edible! Thus, it can appear on store shelves in the form of delicacies similar to potato chips, and even researchers say that this method can be used to produce beet, blueberry or beetroot mousse.
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