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Exploring New Materials
Professor Seth Stem demonstrates the strength of new natural fiber composites.
At the 2010 A Better World by Design conference, an annual event organized by RISD and Brown students, Industrial Design Professor Seth Stem led a workshop in Natural Fiber Composites for a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people packed into the ID Gallery. The workshop was geared towards assessing the value of such composites for various design
disciplines. Sponsored by BASF, one of the world’s leading
chemical companies, it included industry representatives from Ahlstrom, BASF, Bast Fibers, Hooper Associates, Indyco and
PlastiSource who discussed
materials and innovative methods of producing environmentally friendly natural and bio-synthetic
“These materials present
enormous design opportunities due to their versatility,” Stem pointed out. “Some of the
fibers have very high tensile strength similar to fiberglass and carbon
Ahlstrom demonstrated the properties of non-woven
natural fibers and showcased how these materials can be impregnated with
new liquid acrylic
copolymers called Acrodur® developed by BASF. This process yields a
rigid, strong, waterproof and non-toxic product in both its
manufacturing process and end state. In addition to developing chemicals, plastics and agricultural products that incorporate its oil and gas portfolio, BASF is known for its commitment to finding intelligent solutions to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency,
nutrition and mobility.
Approximately 1,000 students, design professionals, engineers and industry representatives attended the three-day A Better World by Design conference, which is organized in part to explore cleaner manufacturing processes that produce more sustainable, environmentally friendly products.
, Industrial Design