10 August 2016 – Evolva’s (SIX: EVE) collaboration with the US Navy (NAVAIR research facility, China Lake, California) to develop novel composite materials is to focus on the development of a new class of structural composite materials engineered from a polymer resin matrix fabricated from a specified formulation of Evolva’s resveratrol. Evolva has produced and delivered this specified formulation, and will continue to work with the Navy to advance this new class of composites.
Currently available structural carbon composites are often unsuited for high-energy, high fire-risk applications such as fuel tanks, engine components, high-rise buildings, elevators, rockets, trains, and lithium battery casings, to name just a few.
The polymer resin matrix being tested for this new class of composite materials is made from a special formulation of Evolva’s resveratrol, which can be economically and sustainably manufactured on an industrial scale using advanced biotechnology and fermentation, converted to a thermosetting monomer, and then polymerised and shaped/moulded using standard fabrication techniques.
Prototype materials made from Evolva’s resveratrol have performed well in preliminary tests, exhibiting a number of advantages over existing fire-resistant materials. Resveratrol polymer composites are lighter than aluminium, halogen free, and able to withstand prolonged exposure to intense heat and flame impingement without combusting or structurally degrading. More testing is needed, but if results remain consistent it could usher in a new class of structural composite materials.
Over and above the benefits to the US Navy, there could be a broad spectrum of civilian applications (aviation, aerospace, automotive, public transport, construction, electronics, energy storage and transmission) and professionals (first responders, construction workers, miners, foundry workers, welders, mechanics) that stand to benefit from products fortified with these composites.
“Engineering with biology provides a way to produce a whole range of product innovations that would otherwise be impossible to achieve economically and sustainably,” said Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith.
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Resveratrol is an ingredient found in certain plants that is associated with a range of functional effects when the plant is subjected to extreme stress from things like heat, dehydration, or disease. Many of the functional effects associated with resveratrol that are observed in nature are thought to be mediated by its induction of “survival” genes. Evolva’s resveratrol is produced using advanced biotechnology and yeast fermentation. It is made from natural and sustainable feedstocks and has a highly scalable, stable, traceable and reliable supply chain.