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A material research into the soft rush in which different elements of this dominant and usually unwanted cosmopolitan weed are developed into materials like paper, textile, foam & a construction material.

The soft rush is mostly known from the woven Japanese tatami mats for which the plant is cultivated, but in most countries the soft rush is considered a weed. In the Netherlands, thousands of kilo's of soft rush plants are removed from nature by State forestry every year.

By separating the pith from the fibres new application possibilities are created. The fibres can be developed into materials like paper, corrugated cardboard, rope, non-wovens and textiles.

The pith of the soft rush is a foam. This material possesses lightweight, shock-resistant and insulating properties that make it suitable as ecological packaging material. The packaging material can be applied as tangled noodle strings or as a compressed foam block without adding any bonding additives. In addition to that, the foamy pith can be compressed in different densities, which also makes it suitable as a lightweight construction material that can be applied in furniture.


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left front; foam packaging box, left back; corrugated cardboard containing foamy packaging strings, right front; packaging paper, right back; boxes for storage that can double as a side table

Don Yaw Kwaning

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research overview
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