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Tree bark interests aerospace sector
Thursday, 25 June 2009

The German Aerospace Center is testing the feasibility of using fabrics made from tree bark in new fibre composites which are said to show the extraordinary flexibility and high tenacity that aircraft materials demand.

The DLR German Aerospace Center is testing the new ?Barktex Plus-Latex059? as a matrix for use in fibre composites in aircraft. ?Barktex Plus-Latex059? is said to be a very robust fleece type material derived from the sub-bark of the fig tree Ficus natalensis, which is then coated with natural latex from the Par? rubber tree Helvea brasiliensis.

The German company behind the development in Ebringen-based Barkcloth Europe which describes its product as a technical/agro textile made from two components (bark and latex), which are grown in a naturally sustainable and are a renewable resource, ?which can be harvested once (bark) or several times (latex) a year.?

The barkcloth material is sourced as part of a European-African venture which pioneered the production of bark cloth in cooperation with Ugandan small-scale organic farmers. No pesticides or herbicides are used during production. In 2005 this production project was declared by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity site. This project has now teamed up with a Brazilian rubber collective and the Institute for Rainforest protection.