Experimental Clock Made With "Wooden Plastic" Gears

These clock gears are made out of a "wooden plastic". They were used to make a large clock exhibit at the World Expo 2005 held in Aichi, Japan. It's true that composites of wood and plastic and been previously developed. In this instance though, the clock gears are made out of 100% waste wood. These materials are heated at 392°F in a high-temperature steam boiler, to break down the wood fibers. The resulting material is dried and powdered. The powder is then re-heated and pressed into disc-shape. In the end, there is little difference in strength between gears made of wooden "plastic" and those made of conventional plastic. One wonders if the embodied energy in this process makes it all worth while. Perhaps when compared to the production of plastic or metal? :: Clock Exhibit [by Justin Thomas]