Penn State's department of food science has been hard at work using an electrospinning device to stretch fibrous strands out of a biodegradable food-starch solution. Using a solvent to dissolve the starch into a fluid, long strands are spun, which, in great quantity, can be woven together together as one would a textile—the potential application of which extends itself to napkins, tissues, and even medical dressings, like bandages.
Starch is the most abundant and least expensive of all the natural polymers, so bringing this technique to scale for industrial processes would be a highly cost-effective—not to mention green—development. Other than cost, one consumer benefit of starch-based bandages would be their painlessness. Unlike conventional bandages on the market today, which are often painful to remove—a starch bandage would over time degrade into glucose—or sugar—a substance naturally and safely absorbed by the body. [Phys.org - Image via Stephen Coburn/Shutterstock]