It looks like wood, feels like wood, is even made of wood – but it shifts shape and solidifies like plastic, bringing together the most powerful material assets of two of the most used materials on the planet.
Lingin (an often-discarded element of regular wood) is combined with natural resins, flax and fibers that can be injected into molds and form extremely complex, precision-shaped objects normally made of conventional, non-biodegradable petroleum-based plastics. The result has been dubbed Arboform by its German inventors, and may well revolutionize the worlds of material science and mass production.
Just like wood, it breaks down quickly and organically into eco-safe by-products like water and carbon dioxide. It is also made from a leftover part of trees that is unused during the paper-making process – over 100 million pounds of its main ingredient are created as a simple side-effect of the existing pulp industry.
What can be made of Arboform? Almost anything you can imagine from simple toys to complex gadgets, disposable cups to long-lasting automobile parts, custom-cast furniture to heavy-duty helmets – think of anything made of plastic or wood, and you will start to get the picture. In short: we are talking about the precision, flexibility and durability of plastic … with the 100% recyclable, renewable, tactile and aesthetic advantages of wood, in a single new material. Eat your heart out, see-through concrete and transparent aluminum!