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Thursday, May 10, 2007

A dress with good body and an interesting nose

Maybe we can just attribute it to Australia's recent grape glut, along with the adage "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Life gave Australians grapes, so they made ... fabric?

A cottonlike, cellulose fiber dress was recently made of wine as part of the Micro ‘be’ arts project at the University of Western Australia's Institute of Agriculture, using wine that researchers deliberately let go off.

The dress was made with cellulose produced by acetobacter bacteria as they turned a vat of red wine into vinegar. The cellulose was formed around an inflatable doll ("I'm just buying it for research purposes -- no, really!"), which was deflated after the dress was complete.

Cellulose fabric produced by this method isn't yet practical, because the shortness of the fibers requires that the material be kept wet; if it dries out it becomes brittle and tears easily. Researchers hope to collaborate with an organic chemist to find a way to polymerise the cellulose fibers to make a more wearable fabric.
M. Zane Grey, 7:08 PM