Australian Native Grass Could Make Super-Thin Condoms

Posted: Feb 10 2016, 9:17am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Australian Native Grass Could Make Super-Thin Condoms
Dr Nasim Amiralian of the AIBN at UQ stretches latex with a Spinifex nanocellulose additive. Credit: Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland
  • Aussie Native Grass could be employed to make Very Thin Male Contraceptives

Native grass from Aussie Land could be employed to make very thin male contraceptives.

Fibrous materials taken from the Australian native spinifex grass could get used in the making of condom latex. In fact, some of the condoms may have a thickness as narrow as a human hair.

That of course is super-thin and it will increase sexual pleasure for couples as well as lovers. The biggest thing is that there is no loss in the tenacity and tensile strength of the condoms.

The researchers who are looking into this possibility are working in tandem with the Aboriginal people of Australia. The regional grass in the area they occupy will have nanocellulose extracted from it.

This will in turn get used in condom latex. The spinifex nanocellulose will considerably improve the original properties of the rubber used in the condoms. It will act like a supplement of sorts.

Its flexibility is the chief molding agent that works wonders for the male contraceptive industry. The stronger, super-thin membrane that is a result will be more stretchable and is a cherished goal of the scientists.

"The great thing about our nanocellulose is that it's a flexible nano-additive, so we can make a stronger and thinner membrane that is supple and flexible, which is the Holy Grail for natural rubber," Professor Martin said.

The condom was tested by being blown up to bursting point. Its performance under pressure was excellent. Over 20% extra pressure and 40% volume could be taken by this new condom.

It was a miracle of modern day science. More processing may result in the condom being 30% thinner. That is like reaching the limits of thinness.

Anything more than that will almost force the material to sort of disappear into invisibility. This optimization and thinning of the device is a leading edge and revolutionary field indeed. At 45 microns things will have reached a breaking point.

"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," Martin said.

"With a little more refinement, we think we 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.

"Late last year we were able to get down to about 45 microns on our very first commercial dipping run, which is around the width of the hair on your head."

Condom manufacturers would surely be very interested in the whole deal. And the use of latex will be a changed process from now onwards thanks to this novel methodology.

The thinnest and most pleasurable condom is the stuff that dreams are made of. It would be a stud’s desire and a nymphomaniac’s fantasy come true.

There are more applications besides those in the world of sex. Latex gloves for surgical procedures are another field. The costs of producing condoms would go down as well thanks to this scheme of things.

"Rather than looking at increasing the strength, companies would be looking to market the thinnest, most satisfying prophylactic possible," Martin said.

"Likewise, it would also be possible to produce latex gloves that are just as strong, but thinner, giving a more sensitive feel and less hand fatigue to users such as surgeons.

"Because you would also use less latex, your material cost in production would potentially drop as well, making it even more attractive to manufacturers."

Spinifex grass has traditionally been used as a gum. Its resin is employed to stick arrow heads on shafts. The future looks to be all about spinifex harvesting.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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