Mind & Matter



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Aerocork. Photo: Paul Ridden.


Given predictions of dwindling supplies of petroleum—not to mention the recent unmitigated oil disaster in the Gulf—manufacturers of synthetic plastic-based products are eager to explore renewable feedstocks to traditional fossil fuels.

Portuguese aircraft manufacturer, Dyn'Aero Ibérica, initiated a research effort in 2008 with Amorim Cork Composites to develop a bio-based replacement for PVC foam and other synthetic polymer aircraft materials. The company recently exhibited the results of their efforts at the Paris Green Air Show. Named Aerocork, the natural cork composite is currently being used to construct one of Dyn'Aero Ibérica’s new planes, the MCR UL aircraft.




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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.