All posts by chris

Mycelia Side Table – 2014 – Bellec & Fussner

Bellec & Fussner

“Mycelia Side Table, Iteration N° 01 + 01”, 2014

Mycelia grown bio-composite, galvanized steel.

Dimension: 18x 27 3/4 x 15 1/4 in. (? cm.)

Produced for Material Spectrum Lab, New York. Number one from the edition of 3. Table top grown grown in New York city, made from a pine-chip & sawdust bio-composite. Underside of table with leather tag laser with artist’s signatures and ““Variation N˚ 01  + 01, 2014/05/16/Collection Mycelia Side Tables/Edition Material Spectrum Lab, limitèe à 03 exemplaires.” Comprising of one table, the original prototype.

//////////////////////Introduction

Paul Stamets talk about how mushrooms can save the world inspired us to explore the properties of this bio-material. Prior to this talk we had also developed a slight ambient awareness towards the potential of mycelia as innovative bio material that has the potential to impact our planet. Without this awareness I do not think we would have fully committed ourselves to learning and discovering more about mycelia and its amazing properties. The inquiry into this medium has been extremely fun as we are  considering to keep using the medium through the summer to see what sort of furniture we can grow. There are only a handful of people around the world actually using this material to grow furniture, one of the Phil Ross (coincidentally my brother’s professor at USF) is flagship artist. Any sort of aesthetically pleasing design that also performs structural integrity would be able to warrant a decent amount of attention from customer or potential media.

//////////////////////Setup

Brief: Grow a planar surface out of mycelia that will act as a table top surface.  We then combined the mycelia with a found material, in this case we looked towards piping to create a foundation structure. Scroll over pictures to see action caption.

 MYCELIA SETUP

MYCELIA_STATUS_MAY11

MYCELIA_STATUS_MAY13

MYCELIA_STATUS_MAY14

 

//////////////////////Conclusion

The biggest take away so far from our experimentations with mycelia as a medium is that it is undeniably an a resilient bio-material, a living structure. Conceptually if you think about growing structure, it’s quite mind blowing and a huge departure from current materials that are used to build, construct and complete things.

We have just finished growing the table, it has been baked and we will be posting another status update in the coming days. We are now growing another batch of mycelia culture to create several more side table forms and potentially other types of furniture.

The use of material in a larger context is subject to many potential roadblocks, at this point in time very little people are using this material. This is good for us (Ambroise & myself) if we want to release some work since we will be considered “innovators” in the field, however for a future with a more diverse array of building materials there need to be more people working with the material. That will be the difference between mycelia, hemp, bast fibers, and other bio materials.

Proprietary strains is an extremely short sighted measure, if the businesses and people that are committed to creating a more diverse material spectrum in our world then this knowledge should be opensource. At the end of the day, a hobbyist more often than not won’t setup a competing packaging company and try to undercut you.

 

Bibliography

  1. http://www.ecovativedesign.com/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWXZfaEjQbQ
  3. http://cleantechnica.com/2012/01/05/in-a-manufacturing-first-innovative-material-is-grown-by-fungi/
  4.  http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/07/30/mushroom-house-ecovative-furniture-from-shrooms/
  5. http://www.madaboutmushrooms.com/mad_about_mushrooms/2013/05/in-the-market-for-new-furniture-how-about-furniture-constructed-from-mycelium.html

Bio Sculpture Foundation – A Dialogue With Tuber Plants

For my 3D print I though to expand on material interaction and basic system cycles. I am interested in expressing cycles in work, I am not sure why, I use to work in business and although cycles exist in this space most of them are single throughput cycles. There is no regeneration of materials, post use scenarios are not considered. Since post use scenarios are not factored into many designs we live in we have to deal with the consequences of post-use design scenarios, also known as externalities, a nice way to box all  problems that are not of direct consequence to our actions into a single word. Although inherently this piece is not even a pure representation of the idea, it does convey the idea of a post-design scenario, where the work keeps existing and interacting with it surroundings.

Much like a plastic bottle we throw away interacts with a multitude of different systems, my thoughts on a plastic bottle:

“Something that comes to mind is that many of us forget that a piece of waste, in this case a bottle or a can continues to design even after it’s intended use. What I mean by this is that the bottle passes through various systems after it’s initial use, man-made systems like garbage disposal and non-human systems like the ocean. The bottle continues to impact and design the space around it. For example a bottle might enter an ocean, the bottle might perform a number of different actions in the ocean such as floating, sticking with other agents, interacting with living creatures or even breaking down and manifesting itself beyond a singular existence of just being a bottle. Sometimes bottles change form back into something more of a polymer structure break itself down to hundreds of millions of little bits and starts to design on a micro level. Can you imagine a coca-cola bottle designing on the micro level?! Not many things have the ability to change form and operate on different scales but plastic bottles do. The bottle starts interacting at the base of the chain and ecosystem. However it’s design impact is plentiful and efficient harnessing ocean currents these polymers are able to spread and diffuse where ever the power of the ocean takes them. In many cases these polymers diffuse within the ocean food chain. However we don’t know what that will mean for us humans who may not see the effects of bio magnification till our children are born. We do reside at the very top of the foodchain despite our inclination towards other top predators. Since we are at the top of the food chain the magnification of the polymers/petrochemicals in a diet that consist of more seafood could be disastrous. I think understanding the implications of a bottle’s journey and its ability to continue designing and impacting spaces even after it has finished it’s initial task that we designed it for could be a story that may change a persons perspective after they’ve seen the systemic impact of just one bottle, let alone hundreds of millions of plastic bottles.”

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M_eDLyfzp8

IMG_0767

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

Base

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

Starch

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

Water

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

Glycerin

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

Vinegar

 Coffee & Coco Recipe:

Coffee+Coco

 Ketchup

Ketchup

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

Starch

Starch

Water

Water

Glycerin

Glycerin

Vinegar

Vinegar

 

Coco & Coffee

Coco & Coffee

Ketchup

Ketchup

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.