“How can we use human hair waste to create new materials and design outputs?
Human hair is a natural resource that will be increasing in the future since the world’s population is rapidly rising. The UK alone ‘creates’ around 6.5 million kilograms of human hair waste annually, which mostly ends up in landfill or slowly decays in the environment. This causes several problems for both the environment and human health, releasing toxic gasses and choking the drainage system. However, human hair has many valuable properties; it has a high tensile strength, is thermally insulating, flexible, oil-absorbent and is light weight.
Looking at the differences of hair type by ethnical background, there are a few clear facts about the hair fibres.
For example, Asian hair growth is the fastest, about 15 cm a year, whereas Caucasian hair grows 13cm a year and Afro hair 10cm a year.
Focusing on its strength, African hair seems to be the most fragile, breaking under a strain of 60 grams after an elongation of 40%.
At the other end of the scale, Asian hair is the strongest, withstanding a weight of 100 grams and an elongation of 55% for a single hair.
The products below are all made from Asian human hair waste, starting with a 2-ply yarn (minimum breaking load of 32kgs) which are then turned into ropes”. (Visser, 2017)
Specific Material Attributes
Sanne Visser Studio
+44 7827 757468
Images property of the material owners.
-Visser, S., (2017) The New Age of Trichology. Retrieved from http://www.sannevisser.com
-Photos by Tom Mannion and the designer.
-Film by Jurgen Jacob Lodder.