New Scientist: Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC), or processed wood pulp, is proving to be an extremely useful and versatile material. Produced from not only whole trees but also twigs, branches, and even sawdust, NCC is both abundant and renewable. Milling and purifying the wood breaks the material down into tiny crystals, which can either be formed into a thick paste and applied to surfaces or be processed into strands and molded into different shapes and sizes. Because the resulting material is strong, lightweight, and electrically conductive, manufacturers are starting to use it in a wide variety of products, including flexible electronic displays, car parts, and even plastic bags. Although the material has been around for a long time, researchers have only recently been able to explore its multifarious properties because of new technologies such as electron scanning microscopy. “It is the natural, renewable version of a carbon nanotube at a fraction of the price,” said Jeff Youngblood of Purdue University’s nanoforestry institute in West Lafayette, Indiana.