Seaweeds are plentiful and simple to cultivate in most coastal areas of the world. Current industrial uses of seaweed utilize extracted polysaccharides and hydrocolloids found in seaweeds, not entire seaweed fibers. This study investigates the structure and strength of seaweeds found in New England and CA. The samples were analyzed by microscopy, TGA, and tensile testing. Typical breaking forces were between 3N and 30N for red and brown seaweed, respectively. Strength for these samples ranged from 0.7 to 29 MPa. The properties of seaweed are determined by the fractions of polysaccharides, cellulose and inorganics. In addition, cellular orientation increases the strength. The organized structure in seaweed and its high strength may enable its use in new biopolymer products.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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