HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials

Coconut & Fabrics Improve Biocomposites

NO RATINGS
Page 1 / 2 Next >
View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Scott Orlosky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: just like the old days
Scott Orlosky   8/14/2012 12:04:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann.  That subject might just make an intriguing future article.  I'm sure there's enough source material.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: just like the old days
Ann R. Thryft   8/13/2012 6:44:48 PM
NO RATINGS
Scott, your earlier comment "I'd like to think that we're heading into an era where nature is viewed as a cooperative ally rather than something to be overcome." is intriguing. I also hope we are recapturing an understanding that most humans once had for many thousands of years until recently in our history: seeing ourselves as an integral part of the natural world, one that we can look to for inspiration and resources.

Scott Orlosky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: just like the old days
Scott Orlosky   7/23/2012 12:18:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Excellent points.  I hadn't considered the "general attitude" aspect of material selection.  Sounds like it would take a significant re-education effort to undo those biases.  The more we understand the natural origins of materials the more likely we are to respect and protect them.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: just like the old days
Ann R. Thryft   7/23/2012 12:13:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Dave, thanks for that background on research into natural fiber composites. I agree on the local use of local materials to reduce costs. After all, that's what people did before the industrial revolution: use what's at hand.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: just like the old days
Dave Palmer   7/23/2012 11:29:21 AM
NO RATINGS
@Scott Orlosky: You raise a good point -- our attitudes about natural products speak to our overall relationship with nature.

In the developed world, there is often a bias against the use of natural products in industry.  For example, we often use wool grease (which, as the name indicates, is a mixture of long chain fatty acid esters extracted from the wool of sheep) as a lubricant for fasteners.

When I describe this product to people, they often react in disgust or derision -- even though some of them may regularly use skin care products containing lanolin, which is actually just highly-refined wool grease.  But when it comes to industrial wool grease, they see it as a "gross" product, and have a hard time believing that it is still being used in the 21st century.

The same people tend not to have the same reaction to solid film lubricants or petroleum-based lubricants. (This is especially interesting when you consider how most urban people react when they drive past a sheep pasture, compared to an oil refinery).

On the other hand, in developing countries, indigenous materials are often considered to be inferior to synthetic materials imported from abroad.  There is a common prejudice, especially among the educated classes, that imported products are always better than national products, and that traditional national products are little better than garbage (even though foreign tourists may pay large sums of money for traditional products, or at least facimilies thereof).

These attitudes are largely unconscious and mostly irrational, but I would argue that they play a significant role in material selection.

Scott Orlosky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: just like the old days
Scott Orlosky   7/22/2012 8:01:09 PM
NO RATINGS
I had heard about this use of coconut fibers recently, but not any details.  Thanks for the article. Once again nature provides.  I'd like to think that we're heading into an era where nature is viewed as a cooperative ally rather than something to be overcome. Efforts like this move us in the right direction.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: just like the old days
Dave Palmer   7/20/2012 3:51:19 PM
NO RATINGS
Dr. Pradeep Rohatgi, who is best known for his work on metal-matrix composites, also did significant work on natural fiber composites, including coconut, banana, and sisal.  This kind of technology could play an important role in reducing poverty in developing countries.  Instead of relying on expensive materials imported from industrialized countries, indigenous materials could be used.

Besides, many biological materials have properties which rival those of the best synthetic materials, often at a significantly lower cost.  A lot of money is being spent on research to develop multifunctional, nano-structured materials, but nature has a big head start on us (about four billion years).

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: just like the old days
Ann R. Thryft   7/20/2012 12:17:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Nadine, thanks for the history--I didn't realize that this type of modern research, i.e., materials made from natural sources, had a previous phase. Maybe it's my studies in anthropology way back when, but I've always been interested in how people experiment with the natural materials in their immediate environment for an astounding range of uses.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
just like the old days
NadineJ   7/19/2012 2:23:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks Ann for this intersting article highlighting these two studies.

Before the wonder fabric known as nylon came on the scene, there was a lot of development of fabrics made from natural sources such as milk fiber, hemp and even coconut.  We're dusting off some of the old research.  With more modern technology and processes, I think we'll see some very intersting results.

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has entered Mars' atmosphere, carrying instruments to help Earthlings figure out what happened to it. Launched last November, the spacecraft arrived at the red planet right on time after a journey of 442 millionmiles.
More bioplastic materials have entered the 3D-printable filament fray. These PLA formulations reinforced with wood or bamboo fibers will debut at the October Composites Europe show in Germany.
Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
GE Aviation not only plans to use 3D printing to mass-produce metal parts for its LEAP jet engine, but it's also developing a separate technology for 3D-printing metal parts used in its other engines.
Design News Webinar Series
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 20 - 24, How to Design & Build an Embedded Web Server: An Embedded TCP/IP Tutorial
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service