biomaterial

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Bioplastic Cook Book

Bioplastics samples by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

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During her two month internship at FabTextiles and Materials lab, Margaret Dunne, a fiber scientist researcher studying at the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, contributed to the research and development bioplastic experimentation. Her task during the internship was to master Bioplastic recipes, experiment and amplify the materials catalogue and publish the second open source book of FabTextiles lab called The Bioplastic Cook Book.
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After The Secret of Bioplastics, written by Clara Davis in 2017, which explained the history of bioplastics, The Bioplastic Cook Book focuses on recipes for making bioplastics. You can find precise instructions for making gelatine, agar-agar and corn-starch-based bioplastics. Dunne also offers bio-composite recipes using clay, burlap and hemp.
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Bioplastic cook book page by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

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In the Bioplastic Cook Book every single ingredient is biodegradable. They are made with biopolymers, plasticizers, solvents, and sometimes an additional, additive. The book opens with the indispensible basics anybody with a passing interest ought to know, required reading before any attempt to make bioplastic. At the end, a question is posed : are bioplastics harmless to the environment ? Margaret Dunne atteimpts to address this problem, exploring the carbon footprint that results from bioplastics.
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Bioplastic cook book page by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

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There is a link to the Bioplastic Cook Book at the end of this post. Below, some pictures of Margarette Dunne’s experiments.

Gelatine-based bioplastic sample by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

Agar-agar-based bioplastic sample by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

Bio-composite gelatine+clay sample by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

Bioplastic gelatine+spirulina sample by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

Bio-composite gelatine+burlap sample by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

Bioplastic gelatine foam sample by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

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Bioplastic cook book by Margaret Dunne, FabTextiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2018

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And if you’d like to know more about the general history of bioplastics, when, where and why they were created you can check our first published book:

 The Secrets of Bioplastics by Clara Davis here.

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Bio Filter : bioplastic + activated charcoal

In 1831, Mr. Touery, a professor at the French Academy of Medicine, drank strychnine, a deadly poison, in front of all his colleagues. He survived. How ? He had combined the lethal dose with activated charcoal. “That’s how powerful activated charcoal is as an emergency decontaminant in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. Activated charcoal is considered to be the most effective single agent available. It is used after a person swallows or absorbs almost any toxic drug or chemical.”*

Diagram displaying the major health effects of air pollution, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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Last year Fab Textiles worked on a flexible bio filter design to reduce the pollution of Monterrey, the most polluted city in Mexico. This research was undertaken for an architecture project named Restology, a multidisciplinary project between architects, interior designers, product designers, fashion designers, material designers, graphic designers, electronic engineers and marketing strategists. During one month, Maria Luisa Becerril and I collaborated at Fab Textiles, Fab Lab Barcelona on the development of a bio-composite made of bioplastic mix with activated charcoal.

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Grains of activated charcoal, Fab Textiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2017

Liquid mixture of bioplastic and activated charcoal, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

 

Activated charcoal is one material that seems especially applicable to Fab Lab makers, because of its ecologically sound and purifying properties. It is essentially a form of incredibly microporous carbon, processed from natural carbon-rich materials by applying various gases or chemicals to ‘burn’ in tiny holes and thus exponentially increasing its surface area. The result ? A material that can efficiently filter out all manner of impurities and toxins. A super-sponge, if you will. Bioplastics present themselves as an excellent and similarly sustainable substrate for activated charcoal with a wide range of uses.

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Bio-composite module tests, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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During the material research, Maria Luisa and I tried out 10 different recipes to discover the correct ratio of ingredients that provided the most appropriate amount of flexibility for using activated charcoal as a filter. For this research, we decided to use gelatin as our biopolymer and glycerol as our plasticizer. By experimenting with the quantities of glycerol relative to activated charcoal, one can influence the degree of flexibility of the mixture. Maria Luisa told me that in the previous experiments  with her team, the issue was that the samples were cracking  after the drying process. Probably because the bioplastic mixture was containing too much activated charcoal according to the glycerol ratio.

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Bio-composite recipe experimentations, Fab Textiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2017

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At the end of the experiments, we succeeded to have good results, with samples with different flexibility (hard like a rock to flexible like rubber) and textures (Rough to Smooth and Matte to Shiny). I noticed that some of the samples were conductive, an interesting fact that we could use for future e-textiles and wearables.

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Bio-composite recipe experimentations, Fab Textiles, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2017

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Samples

Water

Gelatin

Activated Charcoal

Glycerol

Flexibility

Texture

Conductivity

Resistance

10 cm

#1

100 ml

25 g

15 g

No

Hard

Smooth & Matte

Conductive

80 – 200 Ohm

#2

100 ml

25 g

15 g

10 g

Hard

Smooth & Matte

Conductive

100 – 200 Ohm

#3

100 ml

25 g

15 g

25 g

Very Flexible

Smooth & Shiny

Conductive

150 – 200 Ohm

#4

100 ml

25 g

15 g

35 g

Very Flexible

Smooth & Shiny

Non conductive

#5

100 ml

25 g

5 g

10 g

Flexible

Rough & Shiny

Non conductive

#6

100 ml

26 g

16 g

10 g

Shapeable

Rough & Shiny

Conductive

100 – 200 Ohm

#7

100 ml

16 g

16 g

10 g

Flexible

Smooth & Matte

Conductive

150 – 200 Ohm

#8

100 ml

50 g

16 g

10 g

Bendable

Rough & Matte

Non conductive

#9

70 ml

26 g

16 g

10 g

Flexible

Rough & Matte

Non conductive

#10

130 ml

26 g

16 g

20 g

Flexible

Rough & Matte

Non

Conductive

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Some samples made for the Restology project were sent to the laboratory to be tested. The scan of electrons viewed in the microscope shows that the best recipe for creating a bio filter is one with the greatest amount of activated charcoal and almost as much glycerol as gelatin for better flexibility. The amount of ingredients use for this recipe is 20% glycerol , 28% gelatin, 57% activated charcoal and 14% water. Compared to the others, this recipe presented the highest average pore-size of 50μm, “creating a set of thin porous walls one behind another with inside cavities allowing the filtration of air pollutants.”**

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Microscope scan of the bio-composite electrons, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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The laboratory analysis proved that one of the activated charcoal and bioplastic mixture was porous enough to fix pollutant particles. To validate the filtering potential of this bio-composite, the Restology researchers developed a machine measuring microparticles and gases such as NH3, Nox, Alcohol, Benzen, Smoke, CO2… This two-chambered device contains an Arduino system connected to two sensors : one reading dust density (GP2Y1010AU0F sensor) and one calculating air quality (MQ135 sensor). The two chambers are separated by the bio-composite filter, the polluted air is introduced in the first chamber, measured, and then remeasured in the second chamber after passing through the bio filter.

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Data compilation machine : measuring air particles and gas, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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3 Days try out results, data compilation machine : measuring air particles and gas, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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OUTDOOR & INDOOR RESTOLOGY MODULE

Outdoor filter module : concrete, bioplastic and activated charcoal, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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Indoor filter module : bioplastic and activated charcoal, CEDIM Lab by Restology project, 2017

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* E-Medecine Health Article, Medical Author: John P.Cunha, DO, FACOEP and Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD, Chief Medical Editor / Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical car.

 

** Restology, absorption of suspended particles through bioplastic and activated charcoal, multidisciplinary thesis, Centro de Estudios Superiores de Diseno de Monterrey S.C., 7 December 2017.

 

Restology project by Monterrey Center for Higher Learning of Design (CEDIM University), Monterrey Mexico, Architecture Department Direction :

Project Leader : Yessica Mendez Sierra

Students : Ada Gloria Gonzalez Mireles, Ana Graciela Gonzalez Sanchez, Ana Maria Vargas Lasserre, Andrea Lizette Najera Rodriguez, Bárbara Garza Saldaña, Carla Ruizvelasco Garza, Cristina Adriana Briones Nuñez, Dana Mayeli Rangel Torres, Estefanía Flores Jiménez, Juana Valeria Gonzalez Ortiz, Kathia Quintanilla Garcia, Maria De Lourdes Hernández Lima, Maria Luisa Becerril Garcia, Mayra Valeria Moreira Balderas, Melissa Chapa Gil, Oscar Javier Alvarado Contreras, Priscila Luna Ramos, Roberto Luis Valenzuela Cortazar, Sara Eugenia Gonzalez Mascareñas, Veronica Saldaña Garza

 

-> About Restology project : https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/reduce-air-pollution

 

Article written by Clara Davis