The eighth in a series of AskNature Nuggets.
Ep. 8: How Does Nature Make Materials?

Let Biomimicry 3.8 Institute's Director of Youth Education Sam Stier give you some insight into nature's premier polymer producer.

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Transcript:
"I’m standing next to one of the busiest factories in the world. Millions of chemical reactions are taking place here every second. [look up at tree]

One of the things plants are excellent at making is long fibers of carbon atoms strung together. The tree knits these fibers together to make itself. About half the weight of the tree is carbon.

Where does it get all this dense, heavy carbon? From here – the air.

The tree eats all this carbon through tiny openable holes in the underside of a leaf.

It’s not easy to turn this [air] into this [solid tree]. But a tree knows how to do it.

You know what else is made of long fibers of carbon atoms strung together? [bend leaf]

Plastic. What if trees taught us how to make our plastics out of this [air] - over-abundant carbon dioxide. If trees can do it, we can learn how."

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