Rose-Hulman students produce plastic trash alternative

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – No that isn’t a 2 by 4 piece of wood (video), but it might be the replacement for it soon. This is the product that 8 Rose-Hulman students have produced in just 8 weeks.

And it’s all part of a grand engineering challenge to help other countries.

“We are doing this to improve the standard of living for Haiti,” shared Ryan Tanaka, project member.

This is how the idea was constructed.

“We found that there is a lot of plastic trash, in fact 250,000 lbs of plastic trash is exported from Haiti every month. Ultimately we decided to work with a plastic building material project, we built a solar cooker to melt plastic to design lumbar replacements,” said Tanaka.

So turning wasted plastic into a usable product. It was a fast cooking idea that started with the design for a solar cooker, but has molded into much more.

“We took scraps of plastic heated them up with the solar cooker and then you can mold them into pieces, that can be used for material,” said Katie Piens, Rose-Hulman student.

“It’s a low cost, so this can be applicable just about anywhere,” explained. Piens.

A summer course that hammers out creative ideas from the students, which transfer to products to use.

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