Scientists at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry are developing a way to add wood fiber to plastic to make it stronger. The process extracts nanocrystals of cellulose out of woody materials such as trees and willow shrubs and mixes them with the plastic. The result is a strong, lightweight plastic that will degrade in a landfill.
“By adding an ounce of crystals to a pound of plastic, you can increase the strength of the plastic by a factor of 3,000,” says William Winter, chemistry professor and director of the college’s Cellulose Research Institute. “And in the end, in a landfill, it’s just carbon dioxide and water, which can be taken up and made into more biomass.”
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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