How We Think


Kombucha specimen


Kombucha (or SCOBY tea), a solution fermented by a combination of yeasts and bacteria, looks incredible under the microscope, where you can see the dense mesh of cellulose fibers that the microbes produce. These fibers form a “raft” on top of the tea that I can't wait to dry and press into polymeric sheets. I've been studying this concoction of organisms for a few weeks now and am amazed at how mobile these guys are: their rate of reproduction at room temperature is something to be jealous of. The plan is to study the mechanical and chemical properties of this polymer and see what the industrial applications could be. Biodegradable clothing comes to mind, especially seeing as how well the sheets fuse together forming seams.

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