TECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Biodegradble Nuts
An inside glimpse at what's new in emerging technologies
In certain branches of science, it is not unknown that a solution is found before anyone recognizes the problem it solves. A case in point is that of the biodegradeable nut.
First conceptualized in Firenza, Italy, during the twelfth century, the biodegradeable nut is of significance to structural engineers, and for good reason: it is more technically advanced than water soluble glue.
Yet the biodegradeable nut remains virtually unused and, indeed, unknown except to the historical specialist. Until the mid 1960's, it was of purely theoretical interest. Then thanks to advances in biomaterials science, the first applications were attempted. The original biodegradeable nut was used on the Plymouth Volare.
One offshoot of biodegradeable nut research sounds whimsical but is attracting modest amounts of venture capital in England. Investigators at Worcester AO UltraTreacle/Sussman, Ltd., have demonstrated a biodegradeable velcro that attaches ice cream to ice cream cones. They are also devising a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant to put in the cone. The British military is believed to be underwriting those portions of the work that are deemed to be "of long term strategic value."
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