Every few years, we get all excited for a new wonder product that could replace the uber-expensive, petro-based, ultra-gnarly carbon-fiber that is absolutely essential to today’s high-performance racing craft (and airplanes, and race cars, and just about anything else that requires very high strength and low weight). And every few years, we’re disappointed when reality interferes with our desire to see something a little kinder to the environment than high-tech’s ‘black gold.’
Well, it’s that time again, and while we haven’t seen any boats built yet out of NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC), there’s clearly enough potential for further study of this material; it comes from cheap, abundant, renewable wood pulp, its got plenty of strength, its natural color is transparent and can be made any color at all, and it can be spun into fibers that might just take the place of carbon. Already a Canadian company is pushing the stuff out the door, while the US Forest Service just invested a pile of money into developing it as well.
And there’s already a nice little video about it. Keep your eyes on this stuff, and thanks to Ohf Shore for the heads up in the forum.