The Institute for Boundary Interactions (I.B.I) is an interdisciplinary research collective that uses science, technology, art and design to explore the complex connections between people, places and things.
Working within the natural-historic context of Duke's Wood, itself formed from a composite of man-made and organic processes, the Institute for Boundary Interactions (I.B.I) have attempted to create a bio-degradable wonder material known as nanocrystalline celulose (NCC) using organic matter collected from the site. This plastic-like material has many potential applications from use in advanced electrical components, to bullet proof glass, pigment free paint, bio-compatible implants, and medical grade aero-gels and more. This versatile material, produced largely from wood, has only recently been discovered and has the potential to rival crude oil in its cultural significance, its prospective impact reaching industries across the world from tupperware to personal electronics. In this research project I.B.I have tested the chemical production of NCC on a small scale using plant matter from the site to reveal the process of its production and interrogate what the implications of such a ‘wonder’ material might be. The project looks at what it might mean for Duke's Wood to return to being a natural resource producing community and how placing the production of advanced materials into the hands of amateurs may impact their relationship to materiality itself.