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Duroplast is a composite thermosetting plastic, a close relative of formica and bakelite. It is a resin plastic reinforced with fibres (either cotton or wool) making it a fibre-reinforced plastic similar to glass-reinforced plastic. Duroplast was used by Eastern European automobile manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau to produce the body of the popular Trabant motor car, parts for the BMW X3 and toilet seats.
Duroplast is light, flexible, and strong. It was also made of recycled material, cotton waste from Russia and phenol resins from the East German dye industry making the Trabant the first car with a body made of recycled material. Because it can be made in a press similar to shaping steel it is more suitable for volume car production than fibreglass.
Duroplast was first used in the body of the IFA F8 and later also the AWZ P70 or Zwickau P70 and later used in the body of the Trabant. Apart from the use in cars duroplast was also used to make suitcases.
Duroplast cannot be further recycled, and burning it produces toxic fumes, so disposing of the bodies of old Trabants is a problem. However, Duroplast's components are edible, and there are stories of pigs, sheep or other domestic farm animals consuming duroplast. This is depicted in the movie Black Cat White Cat.
A Berlin biotechnology company claims that it has developed a solution to the duroplast problem: a bacterium that will eat a Trabant in 20 days and leave only compost.
The same Zwickau plant that started making the Trabant went on to find a solution for Duroplast disposal in the 1990s. After removing the glass and engine, the Duroplast was then shredded and encased into cement blocks for pavement construction. This was featured in an episode of the American PBS television programme Scientific American Frontiers.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Duroplast". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|