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Innovation with nature's simple solutions
Did you know that many inventions were inspired by plants, rocks and animals in the wild? Velcro was inspired by stickery seedpods that stick to clothing. Water skiing was inspired by water striders walking across the water.
What makes a material tough?
“The giant pink queen conch, for instance, has a beautiful shell that's extremely strong and hard to break. This mollusk's shell is made almost entirely of a chalky mineral known as aragonite—a form of calcium carbonate. Yet the conch shell is hundreds of times stronger than the mineral by itself. The shell owes its strength to a secret ingredient – proteins. The proteins form a web that surrounds the mineral crystals and holds them together.
Check out this website to learn more about ideas inspired by nature:
Here’s a challenge for you. What can you make from soybeans? This legume is a simple, easy to grow plant that has many interesting properties. A lot of people are now exploring what they can do with soy beans, soy plants, soy everything! What can you think of? Here are some ideas of what is already being manufactured using this simple legume.
The soybean is now a force in green building.
For decades, the soybean has been a staple of the agricultural economy. Now, products are being created such as soy-based emollients, soy roof coatings, and soy elevator grease is doing its job in the Statute of Liberty in New York City.
Construction materials are popular new products using soy. People with chemical sensitivities or allergies as well as people who just want better indoor air quality like soy-based products because they contain no harmful chemicals. Some the soy-based products now on the market include carpet backings; wood and concrete coatings and stains; adhesives; roofing; and structural membrane coatings, and insulating material.
Foam insulation is sprayed on and the foam expands in the wall to create an air and moisture barrier, keeping us warm inside the building. According to the United Soybean Board (USB), soy insulation provides better insulation than traditional batting insulations. And unlike traditional batting, it's free of formaldehyde. Soy-based insulation may also reduce building costs by decreasing the amount of lumber used.
Rigid foam soy insulation is new on the market, as well.
Some inventors of soy products say that soy insulation is safer than other building products. It's a natural for remodelers to offer soy-based insulation to customers who request healthy homes. "It does not emit gases and chemicals, long or short term, like those present in many other different types of building materials. It's easy to form into shapes and lightweight."
Can you think of places that would benefit from foam or rigid soy products to create healthy, chemical free environments?
Check these sources for more information on soy-based invention:
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