Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Biodegradable Golf Balls

PostedApril 1, 2012

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lede: Those golf balls you slice into the water could stay there for hundreds of years. But a new ball, made from an unlikely source, could make your game greener.

Randy Atkins: Most lobster shells get tossed in landfills. But David Neivandt, an engineering professor at the University of Maine, found a way of getting them back in the water. Put them in golf balls.

David Neivandt: The approach we took was to take the lobster shell and to grind it up into a powder and then bind that powder together with a biodegradable polymer and use that in the core…

Randy Atkins: …that’s coated with another eco-friendly material. Neivandt says it’s indistinguishable from a traditional ball and could be used, for example, on cruise ship driving ranges.

David Neivandt: In a period of a week or two weeks or so the entire ball breaks down and releases the lobster shell back into the ocean.

Randy Atkins: With some tweaking of the lobster core formula, Neivandt thinks the ball’s performance can be golf course-ready…and then maybe you won’t be quite as steamed when your ball strays into the water. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

Anchor Tag: The lobster balls aren’t available yet, but when they are, could cost less than a regular golf ball.