I chose to look at bioplastics made from a starch basis. I looked at several different “recipes” for contents and proportions and established some basic ingredients of a starch, vinegar, water and glycerin.
For starches, I looked at different things I had in my cupboard which might produce an interesting result. I had seen a video for corn starch, so I tried that, plus some different gluten free flours I have. I also tried some chia seeds and coconut, as these are things I have used in gluten-free cooking and I thought they might create something.
Some of the materials created a firm plastic-like material very quickly (20-40 minutes after cooking), but others were still very unworkable. The corn starch was the quickest, and then the three flours. After three days, I assessed the results.
In assessing the results, I used criteria partly based on ease of production, but also the resulting material and its workability, strength and translucency. This is based on some kelp lampshades I have seen by Julia Lohmann, where she uses kelp in sheet form and laser cuts the dried strips to form her art.
At this stage the most promising starch looks to be the all-purpose gluten free flour from Trader Joe’s. As I don’t know the exact proportions of the flours in this, I will need to experiment further. I have already experimented with the rice, and from my experience in cooking with tapioca starch, it creates good pliability and translucency, so I think this may explain part of this flour’s success.
I also want to better understand the interaction of other ingredients and manipulate the proportions, as none of the materials I produced is yet strong enough to withstand even gentle wear and tear.