(Photo: Philipp Stössel)
Researchers at ETH University in Switzerland developed a useful, weavable fiber from the waste products of slaughterhouses. Philipp Stössel, a doctoral candidate and the lead reseacher, says that collagen recovered from animals can be turned into a gelatin which can be spun into fiber. Design Indaba reports:
The gelatine rendered from the skin, bones and tendons is heated to create protein precipitation. The precipitants are coated with ethanol to harden them, spun into yarn, treated with a resin to bond them fibres together and impregnanted with a natural wool lanonlin to keep them supple.
Stössel knitted a glove from the yarn he made from the gelatine, and notices that the gelatine fibres were smoother than natural wool fibres, giving the gelatine fibres an attractive sheen. They fibres were also full of tiny hollows, which lend them the ability to insulate well. The only advantage the natural sheep’s wool fibre has is its water-resistance, but Stössel is working on ways of improving this.