Zeoform is a new material developed and patented by an Australian company Zeo IP Pty. It is derived from cellulose and water, transforming lignocellulosic fibres from industrial biomass into a structural material suitable for various applications in the industrial sector. It is claimed to be non toxic, biodegradable and could be used as a replacement for many forms of hard plastics, as well as synthetic and chemical composites.
The original discovery of its basis occurred in 1897 by a German company M.M.Rotten in Berlin, patenting a method to produce a natural material utilizing cellulose. Almost 100 years later, three material researchers made advancements on the process that is the basis for Zeoform. This led to the creation, in 2005, of an Australian company which manufactured artisan products from the material. In 2008 Alf Wheeler, an Australian entrepreneur and businessman, joined the company as CEO and changed the focus from a “product” company to a “raw materials” company. Zeo IP Pty Ltd was then established in 2009 to protect and proliferate the material and the brand worldwide.
Zeoform is derived from lignocellulosic biomass, such as hemp, cotton, bamboo, sisal, jute, palm, coconut and other cellulose feedstock. It is made without any glues, binders, chemicals or synthetics. The fundamental chemistry (and patented formula) causes a fibrillation (feathering) of cellulose micro-fibres (in water), then physical ‘entanglement’ and hydroxyl bonding through evaporation. The result is a super-strong, highly durable, consistent material that emulates wood & wood composites, resin composites, fibreglass and many hard plastics. Zeoform can be produced with various qualities – from light styrofoam to dense ebony. The material is sustainable, compostable and sequesters carbon.
Zeoform can be used as a replacement for conventional materials in hundreds of industries, including construction grade flat sheets and curved panels to replace MDF, Masonite, Formica, Corian and other synthetic composites. Zeoform can be sprayed, moulded, pressed, laminated or formed using manual and mechanical processes. It can be produced in quantities ranging from small cottage industry to fully automated and robotic mass production.
Zeoform intends to produce a 3D Printing ‘feedstock’, combining bio-polymers (natural resins) and other elements for an almost unlimited product range. Given the unique qualities of Zeoform, potential exists to develop a customized 3D printer in collaboration with industry leaders. Additionally, 3D printing provides sustainable mould-making capacity for mass-producing Zeoform products at reduced cost and environmental impact.
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