November 30 2007

How Pond Scum Could Lead to Eco-Friendly Fabric and Paint


Going green is fashionable, but dyeing our clothes has remained a decidedly eco-unfriendly practice. Now, British scientists have developed a way to grow harmless algae to add color to fabric and paint. The algae, called diatoms, are single-celled organisms that are unique because they pack iridescent shells. The hard silica shells act like crystals -- depending on the configuration of the holes in the shell, the color changes. The perception of color is maintained without altering the chemical composition of fabric, which is a fundamentally different way of producing color. The new process is one of several advances that could provide safer and less expensive alternatives for a dye industry that has suffered rising costs recently due to environmental problems in China.

See the full article at Wired.

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