Bioplastics Journey

I personally did not like the idea of bioplastics because they didn’t seem sturdy or very flexible. I would never go through the effort of making my own plastic if it was significantly worse in every way (and to add not water resistant). But as I heard my classmate’s experiments and tried some of my own, I was surprised to see that with the right mix of ingredients, a sturdy plastic was possible. At first I didn’t have the right amount of ingredients, so I had to improvise. Instead of using glycerin, I tried to use Crisco. My first recipe was:

 

1 Tbsp Corn Starch

4 Tbsp Water

1 tsp Vinegar

1 tsp Crisco

mixplastic mixplastic2

This led to a somewhat hard plastic that had either cracked right away or had an oily sheen and looked in danger of cracking. It also reeked of vinegar. So overall this recipe was no good.

 

Next I decided to try a recipe with slightly less vinegar and with tapioca starch instead of corn starch. I also added in glycerin. I tried this a few times, varying in length of cooking time and drying the batches in the oven at a steady temperature or on the counter. For these recipes I tried:

 

7 Tbsp water

1 tsp Vinegar

1/2 tsp glycerin

1.5 Tbsp Tapioca Starch

Some Blue food coloring

blueplastic blueplastic2

I made a couple batches with this recipe. Each time I tried to spread them as thin as possible with the spatula. The result was a thin and flexible plastic that doesn’t easily tear. I considered this recipe pretty successful because I got both features I had been after. It also created a really cool effect that allowed you to easily see through it until it was placed closer to your eye. This could be used to make some interesting visual in a project and with the added food coloring it makes it even more interesting.

semiclear

Another couple of batches I tried were the eggshell batches. These were my favorite. I used crushed eggshells (although I wish I had gotten them to a more fine grain) and also some cotton. I wanted to try both separately but felt some strange impulse to try them both in the same batch. I was hoping to have some sort of granite type feel to it where instead of having a fine mix, it’s more of a gritty mix molded smoothly together.

 

The first recipe I tried was:

 

4 Tbsp water

1.5 Tbsp Tapioca Starch

a drop of vinegar

1-2 drops of glycerin

crushed egg shell (towards the end)

cotton (on the drying paper)

 

I hate the smell of vinegar and will do what it takes to make sure I have as little of it as possible. and I think the glycerin takes away a bit from the hardness.

 

I WARN YOU IT LOOKS LIKE PUKE

 

eggplastic eggplastic2

I warned you. It turned out fabulously though. It actually took effort to crack it and where the cotton was, was a bit more flexible and still pretty difficult to break. I feel like this would make nice building blocks (literally) in a project that may need it.

 

I tried the recipe once more without the cotton and finer eggshell bits. It was a similar outcome.

 

Overall it was great experiencing this bioplastic journey. If I were to continue (which I should because I still have a lot of ingredients) I would keep trying with different ingredients like wood shavings or sand or crushed shell. Who knows. I just like the idea of a useful bioplastic.

 

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