Yellow pine, a group species that includes loblolly, slash and shortleaf in the southeastern U.S. is a very sustainable resource, both in natural stands and in managed plantations, It is processed into lumber, panels (plywood and OSB), paper, containerboard, absorbent material for personal hygiene products,and base material for certain textiles (rayon and lyocell) and cellulose chemicals. Think of southern pine as an agricultural "crop" with a "growing season" of 20 to 40 years, depending on the intended end use for the trees. The biggest threat to sustainability is probably the conversion of forest land to suburban development (my own un-researched opinion).
Most end products fron forestry can be recycled at the end of their useful lives, or can at least be used as a renewable fuel. In this case, I don't know enough about how the tin could be recovered. I think that would be the key recycling issue.
It's too early in the development for the researchers to declare victory, but it's great to see them using "Mother Nature's" solution to the problem of swell and shrinkage.
Well thanks very much for posting, This is the most "out there" article in a long time that I've read that was also extremely thought provoking and informative. It just goes to show that stepping outside the usual comfort zone for a field has most rewarding results. I wonder what down sides are??
Yes, there are a few efforts, as I mention in the story, working on storage for renewables. It's really critical to getting these types of energies on the grid and really integrated into the system. It would be good if they came up with a viable option soon.
Yes, Rob, the use of organic materials is increasingly being explored as a new battery chemistry to replace or augment lithium-ion designs. It's quite fascinating what natural materials can be used to conduct and generate electricity, and far safer for the environment. I hope some of them make it out of the lab.
Let's hope this yields some practical applcations. Renewable energy storage is an important topic. Although there's some debate on this figure, many experts say that if wind and solar exceed roughly 20% of the grid's capacity, storage will be critical.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wearables are changing the way we see ourselves. With onboard sensors that have access to our bodies, we are starting to know our physical selves like never before, quantifying our activity, our heart rate, breathing, and even our muscle effort.
Last week, the bill for reforming chemical regulation, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, passed the House. If it or a similar bill becomes law, the effects on cost and availability of adhesives and plastics incorporating these substances are not yet clear.
This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
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.