THE BIOCOMPOSITES CENTRE / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY THE BIOCOMPOSITES CENTRE / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flax. Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of fibre derived from a flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Flax fibres are used to make linen cloth and are mixed with plastic to make biocomposite materials which are stronger than plastic by itself. Flax fibres, which are up to 50 millimetres long, have a complex structure of strands of cellulose which are wound together and surrounded by layers of hemicellulose and lignin. The fibres are strong, cheap, and light. They are a renewable resource, biodegradable, and are easier and safer to handle than man-made materials. Image taken at the BioComposites Centre in Bangor, Great Britain.
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