As evidenced by our friend carbon fiber, composite materials get a big boost in strength when fibers are part of the recipe. Examples include composites made with plastic, wood pulp, and flax fibers. Husband-and-wife design team Jen Carlson and Josh Shear have taken this concept to a funky new level, by using shredded old blue jeans to create a denim fiber composite known as Denimite.
Along with the recycled jeans, Denimite also consists of a partially bio-based thermoset resin, that contains no volatile organic compounds. By controlling the pressure at which these two key ingredients are combined, the density and thus the strength of any one item can be tweaked.
The material is reportedly lightweight, water impervious, and because of the random nature in which the denim fibers are distributed, exhibits mechanical strength in all directions. Additionally, the raw materials are relatively cheap and plentiful ... plus it has a cool "blue-jeany" look to it.
Currently, Denimite is being produced in flat sheets up to one inch in thickness, that can subsequently be cut, sanded and buffed using regular wood-working tools. It could reportedly also be molded.
There are any number of potential uses for the material, although Carlson and Shear believe it could be particularly well-suited for things like countertops, decorative panels, furniture, automotive parts, and consumer goods. They're currently raising funds to develop it further, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$20 will get you a Denimite wallet, a set of coasters or a ring, when and if the funding goal is met.