1st March 1940. From Casein to Aerolite.
‘The droughte of March hath perced to the roote/And bathed every veyne in swich licour’: Geoffrey Chaucer.
An unlikely association between an invention and a discovery related to Casein came to fruition Today in 1940 an order was placed for de Havilland Aircraft by Air Marshall Roderic Hill to supply fifty planes, variants of DH 98, against Air Ministry Specification B 1/40.
By June 1940 DH 98 was famously named the Mosquito.
It was cancelled in the aftermath of Dunkirk and reinstated in November 1940. The prototype Mosquito aircraft, (W4050) was made at Salisbury Hall near Hatfield. It had a wooden frame held together by Casein Glue.(1)
Later the synthetic adhesive Aerolite was used-urea formaldehyde- as being more durable and resisting water and micro-organisms.
It had been developed by Dr.Norman A de Bruyne who founded Aerolite Research Ltd in 1934 and realizing it potential as a adhesive in aircraft engineering asked R.E. Clark of Cambridge to investigate its potential.
Aerolite was an assembly adhesive being the first invented and manufactured in Britain and used in resin-bonded plywood and ideal later for the revolutionary, fast Mosquito, low-level bomber and used by the target-setting Bennett’s Pathfinders.
If anything demonstrates the difference between private-enterprise and the arthritic, bureaucratic hierarchies of RAF and Government, it is well to note that the Spitfire, Hurricane and Mosquito reached production only thanks to independent initiatives by British manufactures.
Casein (Latin caseus; cheese) is the name for a family of related Phosphorus Proteins found in milk, and found to have a wide variety of uses for glue, food additives and is a composition of cheese as well as a binder for safety-matches.
Aerolite is now used in boat-building.
(1) reinstated 25.11.1940.