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Faqs

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Material

Limited quantities of Zeoform (material and samples) are available from our Australian plant now.

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We are creating a Licensing Package to manufacture and distribute Zeoform in as many countries as possible to create a vibrant competitive network of companies offering a broad range of Zeoform materials and products to meet local, regional and export demand.

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In short, yes. Comparing the mechanical properties of Zeoform with numerous hard plastics and composite chipboards, Zeoform competes favourably for compression and tensile strength, hardness and durability etc – without any toxic ingredients. For further technical data, click HERE.

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Zeoform’s biggest advantages are its only two ingredients – plant fibres + water. Plant fibres are the largest renewable resource on the planet and Zeoform has the potential to offer a non-toxic process chain from fibre in the field to finished product with full biodegradability after products are discarded. Zeoform is a non-polluting biomass resulting in low net carbon emissions.

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Currently, as a new technology, the know-how hasn’t yet been developed to produce precision components at an industrial scale, competitively – due to lack of technological development.

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Zeoform is moisture resistant but not waterproof. However, it can be coated and treated like any hardwood for exterior use using bio-resin / oil and wax.
Zeoform needs to be coated to be waterproofed. Products made from Zeoform can be used in outdoor environments if the products are coated properly according to the environmental conditions.

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Zeoform can be pressed into flat panels in a wide range of compositions depending on the machinery and processes used.

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Based on linear compression moulding many shapes can be moulded from wet sheets.

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Zeoform can be made into sheets/surfaces minimum 0.5mm – 1mm thick that are translucent, allowing it to be used in lighting applications.

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Zeoform flat panels and components can be used in conventional building interiors for example; floorboards and tiles, facia and wall panels, ceiling tiles, doors, cabinetry, fixtures and fittings (door handles, banisters, railings etc), and other specialised applications. Flat panels have a high strength-to-weight ratio, making them ideal for cladding and internal facia boards (walls, ceilings, floors). See our Built Environment page.

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Zeoform pulp can be moulded in a number of ways; sculpted by hand in both wet and dry states, sprayed onto moulds, 3-stage (machine) moulding process with varying amounts of compression and evaporation.

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Not at this time. Injection moulding (in plastics industry) requires a thermo-setting material and special equipment. Zeoform uses a water-evaporation process with collapsible male moulds, multi-compression moulds, sheet makers or other forming equipment. It is possible that in the future, with sufficient resources, a type of ‘injection’ process could be developed.

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No, Zeoform cannot yet be 3D printed at this time. With enough resources however, Zeoform may be 3D printed with bio-resins and special printers in the foreseeable future.

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Zeoform manufacturing uses a water evaporation process rather than thermo-forming (as in the plastic industries). A combination of chemical and physical factors occur during evaporation that cause a tight bonding of cellulose fibres, with no other bonding agents.

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Once dry Zeoform can be worked just like any wood – drilled, cut, routed, machined, laser-cut, engraved, sanded, coated, polished etc. Zeoform has a very dense, even grain, capable of being nailed, screwed or bolted, depending upon type and density.

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Zeoform utilises an additive, water-evaporation process to form raw pulp into hard objects. Various shapes and geometries can be achieved using collapsible (male) moulds, multi-compression moulds, sheet makers and other special forming equipment.

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Zeoform can be processed from raw (dry or wet) pulp into hard objects under ‘room-temperature’ conditions, in a drying cabinet at approx. 80ºC. During the evaporation process, a combination of physical and chemical reactions (fibre entanglement and hydroxyl bonding) occurs to enmesh cellulose fibres into a dense, uniform material. Zeoform can be compression moulded, sheet-pressed and formed under pressure at a temperature of 180ºC.

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Raw Zeoform consists of cellulose fibres combined and processed with WATER – and nothing else, to create a dense, uniform wood-like material. There is no reason to use chemical resins, glues, or binders of any kind. However, sustainable resins could be incorporated in various ways to produce a variety of specialised characteristics and materials.

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Zeoform can be made from waste or recycled paper (originally derived from wood pulp) that has been de-inked and had impurities (clay, coatings, chemicals, oils) removed. The feedstock for Zeoform is ligno-cellulosic fibre found in many industrial crops and naturally occurring plants – such as hemp, cotton, sisal, rice-grass, jute, kenaf, bamboo, bagasse and flax.

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Zeoform has a dense, wood-like consistency with natural water-resistance – like wood. Products will only start breaking down when they have been actively discarded. The time required to break down depends on numerous conditions: moisture levels, ground type, enzymatic activity and other. Coatings or additives combined with Zeoform for waterproofing, or special characteristics may increase the time it takes Zeoform to completely biodegrade. In ideal conditions, a CHAIR made from Zeoform could fully biodegrade in under 12 months.

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The cost of producing raw Zeoform depends on a number of variables, such as source and quality of feedstock, quantity produced, energy source/cost, labour cost, equipment, automation, etc – as well as other variables for special applications. Initial testing in our R&D facility indicate that Zeoform can be produced for between $1.50/kg ($3.30/lb) – $25/kg ($55/lb).

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Zeoform has a high strength to weight ratio, meaning that products with relatively thin walls still maintain superior strength. For example, see the “Zeo Elegance” vase picture in our gallery for reference: this product weighs just under 3 kilos (< 6 lbs), measures 160cm high x 80cm around the widest part, with an average wall thickness of 0.6cm.

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1kg of suitable feedstock plus 6 litres of water equals 7kg (15.4lbs) of wet Zeoform pulp. When evaporated, the weight returns to 1kg of dry Zeoform. Note, water can be collected, filtered and used repeatedly.

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Not yet. At present we are assembling our Licensing Package as quickly as possible. We have hundreds of enquiries from around the world about setting up manufacturing plants – to transform mountains of bio-mass waste in Asia, or set up a ‘field-to-finished-product’ system for the US/Canadian hemp industry. If interested in licensing Zeoform in your region or industry, click HERE.

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Zeoform can be made in virtually any density, from styrofoam light to ebony dense. It can be translucent when formed very thin, but not transparent like cellophane or flexible like silicon. It has applications replacing some high end resins, including Polypropylene, Polyolefin, Polyester, Acryllic, HDPE, PVC and Nylon. For more technical data, click HERE.

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Zeoform is not one material, but a broad range of wood-like materials, depending on numerous factors used during manufacturing. Zeoform can be created to replicate the specific qualities and machinable characteristics of most types of wood, with one difference – wood has a linear grain with an inherent weakness along that grain, whereas the grain of Zeoform (for example; when sprayed onto a male mould) tends to be uniform and omnidirectional.

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Zeoform should generally be treated like wood if left outside for extended periods. Unprotected / uncoated Zeoform will eventually absorb water or humidity and soften. Sunlight is a minor factor in biodegradability – in fact Zeoform will fade but not break down in extreme sun conditions. Under laboratory conditions, water/moisture is the primary degrading influence. In ideal natural conditions, a CHAIR made from Zeoform could fully biodegrade in under 12 months.

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Yes. Because Zeoform has no immediate ‘setting time’, spillage can be recycled directly into the production line, or stored for another run. In the future, used Zeoform products may be recycled after removing additives or coatings.

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Cellulose fibres may be processed using a ranges of technologies to optimise their surface area, including physically milling with a disk refiner, steam explosion and enzymatic processing – or a combination of these depending on the quality of feedstock and material qualities desired. The result is a fibrillation (feathering) of fibres that increases surface area by over 600%, making a thick pulp. Zeoform pulp can then be poured, pressed, sprayed, sculpted, moulded and dried. A combination of physical and chemical reactions (fibre entanglement and hydroxyl bonding) occurs during evaporation to enmesh cellulose fibres into a dense, uniform material called Zeoform!

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Yes, using custom built machinery that allows water to drain and Zeoform to cure predictably.

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Zeoform can be processed from raw (dry or wet) pulp into hard objects under ‘room-temperature’ conditions, including a drying cabinet at approx. 80ºC. During the evaporation process, a combination of physical and chemical reactions (fibre entanglement and hydroxyl bonding) occurs to enmesh cellulose fibres into a dense, uniform material. Zeoform can be compression moulded, sheet-pressed and formed under pressure at a temperature of 180ºC.

Note: The mechanical milling of Zeoform generates waste heat that may be captured, stored and used for further production. (And, of course, there are many ways to generate heat without burning fossil fuels, for example solar, wind, water turbines and other sources.)

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Between several hours and several days – depending on the size and wall thickness of the object.

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Yes. Oxides, pigments, dyes and other colouring elements can be added to ZEOFORM to colour the material all the way through. Colour effects can be achieved in numerous ways – spraying ‘layers’ of coloured Zeoform onto a mould, marbleising colours, appliqué of previously coloured elements etc.

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Zeoform can be moulded to tolerances of +/-1mm, with further CNC machining pushing tolerances of +/- 0.1mm.

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Yes this is possible! Zeoform is naturally inclined to make spheres, tubes and other rounded shapes. Depending on structure complexity, product may require CNC machining following de-moulding to achieve the required tolerances.

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Zeoform shrinks by approximately 600% during evaporation/drying. Therefore, a 6mm thick piece of wet Zeoform will dry and shrink to 1mm.

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Tests conducted with an Instron 4505 Universal Electromechanical testing machine (Instron, High Wycombe, UK) according to ISO 527 standards indicated tensile modulus values of Zeoform LD (Low Density 0.5g/cm3) at 1500 MPa, Zeoform HD (High Density 1.5g/cm3) at 6550 MPa. The difference in these measurements (a factor of 4) reflects the different densities. These values compare favourably with other materials such as Polyethylene (PE-HD = 1000 MPa), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC = 3000 MPa). For more technical data, click HERE.

In terms of tensile strength, the differences between Zeoform LD and Zeoform HD are significantly enhanced, revealing a difference of a factor of 8 (Zeoform LD: 7 MPa; Zeoform HD: 55 MPa). Nevertheless, the tensile strength values for Zeoform materials are also comparable to those of the other materials, at least for the higher density range (PE-HD: 25 MPa; PVC: 60 MPa; PF-HM: 25 MPa). At this point it should also be mentioned that specimens of Zeoform with unground surfaces reveal significantly higher tensile strength values, with a tensile strength for Zeoform HD of 75 MPa.

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Tests conducted with a Ceast Resil 25 pendulum (Ceast Spa, Turin I) following ISO 179 indicated that Zeoform HD (1.5g/cm3) reached a Charpy impact strength of 14 kJ/m2 and 6 kJ/m2 for un-notched, notched and un-grinded specimens respectively. For more technical data, click HERE.

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Yes, however this will require machinery to be adapted from other industries (eg paper, milling) or custom built to exploit the full potential of Zeoform. This represents an enormous opportunity globally for mechanical and process engineers, adding further substantial employment opportunities to the Zeoform proposition.

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Zeoform products require special equipment to mould or form the raw material– either converted from related industries (eg paper, wood processing, fabrication, CNC), or purpose built. Variables may include size and shape of products, design, special features, quantity, manual or automated, etc.

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At present, Zeoform can be coated and sealed with conventional (chemical) paints, oils, varnishes and epoxies and other resins. However, we are focused on providing a ‘planet-friendly’ range of coatings and sealers, in partnership with companies, universities and research labs around the globe.

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92% evaporation from wet pulp state yields a dry hard material with 8% retained humidity. To clarify, ALL cellulose contains a small fraction of water, approximately 8%.

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Zeoform can achieve high strength-to-weight ratio materials with very light weights – (0.3gm / cm3), making it suitable for panels, bulking components and blanks for products or further shaping. Panels can be produced in numerous weights, shapes and with hard Zeoform skins (of varying thickness) for conventional (eg insulation) and specialised applications (surfboard, sporting equipment etc).

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Obviously the cost of building a factory depends on many variables. To provide some reference, a basic small factory with used equipment, with artisan scale production, could be in operation for around $500,000. For the USA and Canadian hemp markets, we will be offering a licensing package with a purpose built ‘field-to-finished-product’ factory capable of producing 50,000 –100,000 kgs (220,000 lbs) of finished Zeoform products per year. The estimated cost at this point is $2.5m – $3m. To apply for a license, click HERE.

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Very much depends on how much product or raw material you intend to produce.

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Zeoform is primarily cellulose, however in certain applications lignin can provide useful qualities, for example to simulate certain woods or surfaces.

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Wood chips can be used, however the high lignin content of wood creates a Zeoform material with relatively low strength. Effective for insulation products but not structural products. Chemical treatment of wood to separate the cellulose (as used in the paper industry) may prove a viable option.

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Flat panel Zeoform can be manufactured using entirely conventional equipment and wood production techniques, however more specialised or complex forms – which Zeoform loves – will require adapting existing equipment or installing new equipment (eg robotic precision sprayers, 3D printed moulds). After conducting detailed analysis to assess your needs, opportunities, advantages and obstacles, our senior business, engineering and technical staff will work closely with your team to specify, budget and pre-visualise your production facility using advanced 3D digital technology.

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It depends on what your market needs and what you’re willing to produce. We believe opportunities exist for Zeoform in conventional industries interested in sustainable products, as well as new solutions that Zeoform can achieve more effectively than conventional or unsustainable materials. Our experience shows there is a high demand market for Zeoform products – given their unique look, feel and functionality. Also, Zeoform licensees receive full branding and tailored marketing support.

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It is important to understand that Zeoform is not one material – but many. It can be engineered to suit specific applications. Many applications have a high added value and can absorb a considerably higher price. Having said that, most feedstocks, such as de-inked waste paper and hemp fibre, have a market/ commodity price. Paper pulp tends to be around US$700 tonne. Other costs of producing Zeoform are the energy used, labour costs, rent, and the amortization costs of financing the plant and equipment.

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Many factors come into play here. What form are you selling the Zeoform material in? Sheets/boards? Granules? Wet pulp? What volumes are you selling? How far away from your market are you? Who are your competitors? What are your customers making from Zeoform and how much value are they adding to the raw material?
Our Australian R&D / Artisan factory sold hemp pulp to a customer for US$70kg ($154lb) dry weight. The local customer made didgeridoos with a wholesale price of US$250kg ($550lb). In this case Zeoform Australia could afford to pay US$10kg ($22lb) for the hemp cellulose fibre.

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