Swiss Researches Transformed Animal Waste to Fabric

A science institute in Switzerland had made public how scientists in the institution developed top quality textile fabrics using waste products obtained from animals. Until now, humans have depended solely on synthetic materials for producing such fabrics. This new discovery by the scientist is expected to take the pressure off such synthetic materials and reduce demand for them. This is

also expected to reduce how much people have to pay for fabrics, since the animal waste source is expected to be cheaper than the synthetic material source.

The name of the institution is Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and it is located in Zurich.  The scientist that spear headed the research was Philipp Stossel, a PhD candidate of the institution. He worked together with some of his colleagues to bring about this monumental discovery. They are of the opinion that this new discovery can overtake the use of merino wool in making fabrics. Till date, merino wool is undoubtedly top quality and highly valuable form of sheep wool; it is also used extensively in making top quality garments.  With this new discovery anyway, the dependence on the merino wool may wane. It must however be noted that this discovery is at the infancy stage and has not been advanced on.

Each year, up to 70 million tones in fiber gets traded across the globe. Out of this huge quantity, about 2/3 are produced out of nonrenewable raw materials like natural gas and petroleum; this statistics is made available by the Institute.  With Stossel’s new discovery, other natural sources of fiber products can be done away with, since the raw material can be found more easily. The animal waste can be obtained very easily from animal remains in slaughterhouses all over the world.

Stossel is a 28 year old PhD candidate and he was working together with Professor Wendelin Stark as his supervisor.  The two of them combined isopropyl, an organic solvent, with gelatin, which was heated before adding the organic solvent. The gelatin was gotten from the tendons, bones and skin of animals already slaughtered.  A formless mass was formed from this and Stossel successfully extracted high quality threads from the mass. With further processing and addition of more additives, the thread can be further enhanced to its purest form.

The main goal of Stossel is to make a bipolymer fiber out of waste products. He is convinced of being able to achieve this soonest. Lots of work still needs to be done anyway in order to transform the extracted thread into something the textile industry would embrace. One of such works includes the need to process the thread into a water-resistant fiber. Stossel believes anyway that this is achievable and he is confident it can be achieved in the nearest future. Aside the water-resistance processing, another obstacle that Stossel will have to face is how to get funds that can be utilized on commercial large scale production of the thread. The school authority however believes that such can be achieved once the final thread is ready in marketable form.

Written by: Anthony Olawale Ojo

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