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TechMark Arena 2017 gets under way

Innventia’s popular academy for Master’s students is continuing in RISE and division Bioeconomy. A new round is now getting under way with a focus on the circular economy.

TechMark Arena is a transdisciplinary academy that brings together Master’s students from various backgrounds in order to work on a common theme. This arrangement encourages a broader approach to a topic and ensures a greater exchange of ideas between students and increased knowledge sharing between different projects.

This semester there are seven students from Linköping University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Chalmers University of Technology involved in five different projects on the theme of “Cellulose-based materials in a circular economy”. According to project manager Anton Hagman, this year’s programme is a little broader than previously because there are numerous links to the circular economy in activities.

“The circular economy is a very hot area right now and we want to demonstrate how it is possible to work on the theme in various ways. This is definitely something that will be increasingly important in everything we do in the future. We also want to challenge the notion that it is enough for the forest itself to be circular and to demonstrate how the circular economy is different from the traditional ecocycle. Anything that re-enters the chain can build brand new values.”

The project The future of corrugated board packaging involves two students looking at, among other things, the scope for manufacturing corrugated board without using glue. Eradicating the use of glue would be one way to improve the performance of corrugated board and its sensitivity to moisture, which could help improve its reusability.

Exploring biodegradable electronics focuses on a relatively new area, using cellulose substrates for electronics, which would bring both environmental benefits and cost advantages. One project will study the circularity of one such material and whether it could be picked apart and recycled. Another project will evaluate, among other things, how the principles for ecodesign can be used to demonstrate the circularity of our material demonstrators.

The project Materials: ageing and wear in a circular economy looks at materials for furniture within the public sector and how such furniture should be designed to fit into a circular economy, for instance by being able to replace parts of them or use materials from renewable sources. Two students in this project will examine how the materials age and wear, and how users perceive this ageing.

Textile-like paper as a circular material takes as its starting point the material produced and used for the cover of the Innventia Global Outlook A Cellulose-Based Society report. The new paper manufacturing concept was evaluated from a sustainability perspective last autumn. The project will define the concept of “circular material” in practical terms, as well as investigate how the circular value of the material can be maximised.

The five projects will be presented together before the summer. As in previous years, they will hopefully result in demonstrators, as well as a report. Anton feels that this may be a challenge this year:

“For some of the projects, demonstrating that something is circular will be more of a theoretical endeavour, but the idea is that it should be possible to exhibit. Most of the students come from an industrial design educational background, so I still have high hopes.”

TechMark Arena 2017 is organised with funding from the Gunnar Sundblads Forskningsfond research fund and the Skogsindustrins Forskningsstiftelse research foundation.

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Anton Hagman
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