Eco-friendly thermopol made from popcorn
Gٹنttingen: After ten years of research, German scientists have invented a thermopole made of popcorn. In addition to being low cost, it is also environmentally friendly, meaning that it dissolves and breaks down into harmless substances after use.
The idea to make a thermopol from popcorn came to Ali Raza Kharazipur, a professor at Georgetown University in Gٹنttingen, Germany, ten years ago today when he bought a bag of popcorn while watching a movie.
He and his colleagues then set about implementing the idea, eventually using popcorn to make a thermopole (expanded polystyrene or EPS) foam that was less expensive and more cost effective. It is also eco-friendly.
To make thermopoles from popcorn, the corn kernels are first machine-cut into small pieces and then converted into popcorn by steaming.
In the next step, using a bonding agent made from a vegetable protein, these pieces of popcorn were firmly joined together and pressed well into a mold to give the desired shape.
After the protein glue had solidified in place, the finished popcorn thermopol was taken out of the mold and used for the intended purpose.
According to a university press release, a thermopole made from popcorn traps more heat than a conventional thermopole, while it does not catch fire easily.
Not only that, but once used, it can be cut into pieces and prepared for re-use, whereas when buried in the ground, it dissolves automatically.
It can also be used to make biogas and its used fragments have been found to be safe for animal feed. However, no such thing was said about human beings in the press release.
Professor Ali Raza says that in addition to corn kernels, the remains of the kiln can also be used in the manufacture of this thermopole, meaning that its industrial production will not put pressure on the edible crop of maize.
An agreement has also been reached between George August University and the Bakhel Group of Germany for the manufacture of popcorn thermopoles on an industrial scale, under which it will provide insulation to the buildings.
It is hoped that in the future, the same thermopole made of popcorn will find its place in the packaging of household products, sports equipment and lightweight auto parts.
“I think, as a scientist, I have an important contribution to make to a clean and plastic-free environment,” said Professor Ali Raza.