The Loh Down On Science

EarthBoards

Where do skatebaords go after they can't be used anymore? Maybe, your backyard.

Where do skateboards go when they die?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

And on a fresh way of sticking together.

Anil Netravali, from Cornell University, made an ultra-strong natural glue by--among other things--adding nano-scale bits of clay to soybean protein. Then, using lasers and ion beams, he tinkered with different plant fibers to maximize how tightly they bind to the resin.

The result: Material as strong as Kevlar but as biodegradable as a banana. It could replace the petroleum-based composites used in everything from sports gear to spaceships.

He's already helping to build Comet brand Skateboards. Their COSMIC SHRED design is a bamboo core sandwiched between four sheets of maple. Each layer is smothered in Netravali's soy resin, and reinforced with hemp fiber. Smokin'.

Other composite glues leak toxins like formaldehyde into the air and soil. These boards, they're like totally organic.

Thrashed boards can be safely buried in the backyard. . . or, better still, ground into compost. . . from which a whole new crop of skateboards can grow.

It's the circle of life. Dude. Man. Circle of life.


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