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Developing a Super Paper to Rival Plastics

Raised toward our $6,000 Goal
110 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 08, at 11:59 PM EDT
Project Owners

Developing a Super Paper to Rival Plastics

The Problem:

The use of electronics in a technologically driven society has fostered a growing global dependence on plastic components. In 2010, about 191 million barrels of fossil fuels were used to make plastic products in the United States alone. While plastics are convenient for short-term use, their fabrication consumes limited natural resources. Plastics are unsustainable for long-term use, making it essential to minimize society’s dependence on them in order to protect environmental health.

Our Role:

Team Nature hopes to combat society's dependence on plastics by exploring the use of cellulose nanopaper (CNP) as a potential alternative. CNP is sourced from the same material as standard office paper, but it has demonstrated promise as a replacement for plastics in devices like solar cells and smartphone touchscreens because of its comparable properties to plastics. CNP is a much more sustainable option because cellulose is naturally abundant, biodegradable, versatile, and inexpensive. Under the guidance of Dr. Liangbing Hu of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center, Team Nature is researching methods of improving the properties of CNP so that the material may become more appealing as a mainstream alternative to plastics in electronic applications.

We Need YOUR Help:

To make this project successful, we need your help! We are seeking funding to obtain materials, chemicals, and lab space for our team to conduct research over the next year. Any donation will make an impact by helping us explore sustainable alternatives to plastic materials. Please help us reach our goal, and thank you so much!

Budget Breakdown:

We have estimated that it will cost about $6,000 to fund our project. A significant portion of our budget will be allocated towards helping the team purchase lab materials, conduct experiments, and pay for lab space and machine operations. In terms of equipment, we require glassware, Buchner funnels, flasks, glass, lab safety materials, chemicals, raw materials to make the papers, etc. Similarly, due to the nature of our project, we will be conducting several different treatments, which require different types of machines. For some of these, we have to pay to use them.  In addition, we hope to travel to various conferences in the United States throughout the next two years so that we can learn more about CNP and paper applications as well as present our own findings to the industry. Costs add up pretty quickly and easily. We really need your support. Thank you again!

Websites and Additional Information:




Gifts in support of the University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents.  Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law.  Please see your tax advisor for details.

Choose a giving level


The NanoGift

This contribution buys our team a sample of carbon nanotubes to help increase the paper's conductivity.


The MicroGift

This contribution will help our team purchase glassware, such as beakers and erlenmeyer flasks, which are pivotal in the paper-making process.


The MilliGift

This contribution will allow us to buy the necessary chemicals to perform plasma treatment on the paper, making it more waterproof.


The CentiGift

This contribution will help send one member to a scientific conference to discuss our research. Receive a handwritten thank you note from a team member.


The KiloGift

This contribution buys our team solvents such as pyridine and ethanol, which are necessary to complete reactions . Also, have your name and reason for donation posted on our website.


The MegaGift

This contribution helps buy all necessities for paper making, such as starting materials, chemicals, materials for filtration and TEMPO.


The GigaGift

This contribution helps the team complete different testing procedures, such as the Steady State Method and Atomic Force Microscopy. Receive an invitation to attend our Thesis Conference when we finish our research.


The TeraGift

You have funded one-sixth of our entire project! In addition to the previous materials, your gift will go towards funding team travel to nanotechnology conferences. In addition to the previous items, you will receive a hard copy of our final thesis!

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