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Flax surfboard on display

04 Jun, 2008

Source: BioPolymerNetwork

A surfboard made from native New Zealand flax (harakeke) is on display at Wellington Airport.

The surfboard was created by scientists from the BioPolymer Network (BPN) who replaced the fiberglass that is normally used with flax, to give the board strength and stiffness.

“Biomaterials like the harakeke fibre used in the surfboard may ultimately be used for a range of products including boat cabinetry or automotive panels, or for kitchen or bathroom flooring and benchtops,” BPN CEO Dr Claire McGowan says.

“Other uses for biomaterials include cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams and replacements for polystyrene and packaging,” Dr McGowan adds.

The harakeke fibre surfboard was created to demonstrate that it is possible to make a water resistant composite material using biomaterial and to show real life applications of scientific research.

“Synthetics have always had an advantage over biomaterial because they can get wet, so what the scientists were trying to do here was to crack the secret of a water resistant biocomposite,” Dr Roger Newman says.

“The natural fibre is combined with synthetic resins and foams to make a lightweight, strong composite structure that gives the board water resistance and also a unique decorative effect, as harakeke fibre can be dyed.”

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