03 August 2010
03 August 2010
The aim of the Xendless project was to develop a sustainable carbon fibre composite, as well as a manufacturing process that made it suitable for the design of fine products.
One of the key triggers for the Xendless project was that carbon fibre does not possess the ability to bio-degrade. New advances in composite recycling do however provide a solution, or at least the beginnings of one. New pyrolosis methods now make it possible to unlock the fibres from composites, leaving fibres ready for re-use.
It is these fibres that are used within the Xendless composite. However, instead of relying on petrochemical resins, the fibres are bound with a renewably sourced bio-resin, made using plant oils rather than crude oil. It is hoped that this composite may display an alternative and appropriate way for new industries to use the material. Not only could this prevent the addition of composites to the dumping grounds, but it may actually help to reduce them.
The process developed within the Xendless project is one that is unique to the material. The composite is processed using a slip-casting method similar to that of ceramics. However, unlike ceramics, the ability to remove the composite in a flexible state before heating (to reach optimum rigidity) eradicates unsightly blemishes such as split lines from moulds.
The choice to use the process for a series of cremation urns was intended to demonstrate not only the potential of the individual material, but was also one of design: a carbon cycle for the wider carbon cycle.