Bio-Plastic Variability Tests

Group Project Participants: Ambroise, Auriel, Chris, Nicholas

Objective: Testing variability of each ingredient to see how each component reacts with different input amounts to produce a bio-plastic.

Scope: Cooking 4 different batches examining the results when an individual component amount is increased by 300%. The basis of a 300% increase in the component amount is drastic characteristic change in the bio-plastic.

Base Recipe


Post-cook: Gelatinous, slimy and sticky, more congealed than syrup, after rubbing and spreading plastic does not hold form together.

After 6 hours of drying:

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 1 tsp glycerin

  • 1 tsp vinegar


Cornstarch Recipe:

Post-cook: Much more gelatinous than the base recipe. Stickiness much more than base recipe. Much more pasty than slimy. Does not hold when you spread but looks much more solid congealed. The stickiest of the recipes.

Cornstarch: Adds a more solid composite structure to the plastic. The cornstarch is definitely responsible for creating a more lattice like structural form that is distinctly different from the rest of the ingredient recipes.

After 6 hours of drying:

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 1 tsp glycerin

  • 1 tsp vinegar


Water Recipe:

Post-cook: Gooey, lubricant like, more fluid than maple syrup. Silmey but does not hold together when spread. This is the  slimiest/slipperiest of the recipes.

Water: From our observations we had a hard time discerning the exact role of water in the plastic mixture. We did note that the mixture was much more lubricant like rather than goo like compared to the other recipes. If anything the water plays a mixer role in structural binding of the different components of the plastic, however an increase in water input impacts the characteristics of mixture and amplifies different characteristics of the glycerin more towards the slimier and slippery side rather than a stickier and gooier side.

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 12 tbsp water

  • 1 tsp glycerin

  • 1 tsp vinegar


Glycerin Recipe:

Post-cook: Similar characteristics to the base recipe but the viscosity and gooeyness is at a much higher level. It was not as sticky as the base recipe nor as slimy. This was definitely the most gooiest out of all the recipes. When we spread the plastic it held together the most as in the bonds of the plastic held when spread out between fingers.

Glycerin: From our observations the glycerin has a distinct impact in the recipe much like the cornstarch except the glycerin exacerbates the viscosity and stickiness of the plastic. Out of all the recipes the glycerin held the most form when spread apart. The glycerin held the most form after the cornstarch however the physical properties weren’t close to that of the lattice like starch structure and much more adjacent towards a polymer structure that has much fluidity and variance.

After 6 hours of drying:

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 3 tsp glycerin

  • 1 tsp vinegar


Vinegar Recipe:

Post-cook: Similar to the glycerin in many ways however the difference between the two is that the plastic was much more fluid than the glycerin. The vinegar held together in the same fashion as the glycerin but it did not have the same form, the structure was more liquid like while the glycerin had a much more slime pasty structure.

Vinegar: The vinegar produced similar results to that of the glycerin however it was not as solid in the polymer structure as the glycerin, rather it was much more fluid like. The vinegar is much more of a mystery than the water. The distinct characteristic of the vinegar is that it is acidic in its property so its role may facilitate a reaction between the glycerin and starch. We can infer this because the bond of the plastic when spread apart was similar in strength to the glycerin however not as gooey, it had more fluid state.

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 1 tsp glycerin

  • 3 tsp vinegar


 Coffee & Coco Recipe:




Questions & Further Inquiry:

  1. A more reductive approach in excluding singular inputs of the recipe.

  2. More formal testing in regards to quantitative measures rather than qualitative observations in the characteristics of the plastic.

  3. Additive testing, adding different adjacent components to create a different type of end plastic.

  4. How could we make a bio-resin filament for 3D print?

  5. Could these bioplastics replace standard glues? At least for housework and crafts?

After 24 hours of drying:

Starch recipe: Surface is completely dry, small air bubbles are trapped in the surface. the underneath of the plastic is still drying . It is possible to touch the plastic without mess on fingers. It has a matte texture and the small amount of cocoa that was added gives the plastic an appearance of orange.

Cocoa + coffee recipe: The plastic is the second driest of our list. This plastic is a notable brown and transparent color. Unlike the starch recipe, this appears to be still more of a gel than a paste.

The rest of the recipes: All the other recipes dry at about the same rate. They are still viscous, sticky, and have the appearance of glue.

After 36 hours of drying:

Base Recipe

Base Recipe










Coco & Coffee

Coco & Coffee



Starch recipe: Most of plastic is dry but remaining wet spots under the wax paper are still visible. Very matte and smooth texture, nice to touch and potentially a cool material to work with on tactile projects in the future.

Cocoa + coffee recipe: This recipe is still the second driest batch. It’s texture is still viscous but the surface is approaching a matte feel.

The rest of the recipes: These recipes are still viscous and “gooey”. Although when touching the “paste”, it sticks to the fingers but when stretched out far enough, will let go and spring back into itself, leaving the finger clean. This means that there is no more liquid attaching to the surface of the finger, the plastics have become more solid.


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