A project within the area of activity «Wissenschaft & Design» by Gebert Rüf Stiftung
The interdisciplinary team will explore the natural ressource of the waste of banana production and develop industrially scalable materials with added functionalityand design sustainable products for apparel, interior and composites.
Over one third of the world’s non-renewable resources are used for mobility; natural materials are interesting due to their low environmental footprint and low density. However, increasingly, food crops are being replaced for plants that yield structural natural fibres (e.g. flax fibres). With increasing worldwide population and food shortage, this is not a sustainable behaviour. Can we better develop sustainable products with natural materials from waste (e.g. banana fibre) by combining them with other fast growing natural materials such as bamboo and silk? Nature readily demonstrates high mechanical performance from relatively weak constituents by structuring across different length scales. Biological materials provide these hierarchical architectures with graded interfaces at various length scales for free. We seek to accept Nature’s kind gesture and wish to develop industrially scalable materials with added functionality or unique added value via unique Design possibilities. This project develops a design methodology to create fibre heterogeneity with sustainable materials and then displays proof of concept with a variety of Design and Engineering demonstrations. The broader impact to Switzerland is that we will be the first to do this, and have the necessary partners (technology) in our networks to produce a Swiss-designed material philosophy that may be exploited in third world countries with our guidance in the future.