Washington D.C, Feb 10 (ANI): A native Australian grass could hold the key to creating next-generation condoms, according to a team of researchers.
Fibers from the Australian native spinifex grass are being used to improve latex that could be used to make condoms as thin as a human hair without any loss in strength.
Working in partnership with Aboriginal traditional owners of the Camooweal region in north-west Queensland, the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu People, researchers from The University of Queensland have developed a method of extracting nanocellulose, which can be used as an additive in latex production, from the grass.
Darren Martin said that the great thing about nanocellulose is that it’s a flexible nano-additive, so the scientists can make a stronger and thinner membrane that is supple and flexible, which is the Holy Grail for natural rubber.
“We tested our latex formulation on a commercial dipping line in the United States and conducted a burst test that inflates condoms and measures the volume and pressure, and on average got a performance increase of 20 per cent in pressure and 40 per cent in volume compared to the commercial latex control sample,” he said.
Martin noted that with a little more refinement, the researchers think they can engineer a latex condom that’s about 30 per cent thinner, and will still pass all standards, and with more process optimisation work we will be able to make devices even thinner than this. (ANI)