Experiment with future plastic alternatives (V4)
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We are Marina and Jannis researching sustainable alternatives to plastic.
We’ll share our process and sources here as we go and are open for any help! 🙂
Let’s find a solution for a plastic-free(er) future!
… lignin is a pretty “plastic-like” natural resin … and actually a “waste product” from paper production 😉
Hey birls and goys, thanks for the replies! They are very helpful!
@frogfall: Materiom is pretty much what we thought this community was missing, so that’s perfect. We can’t wait to feed it with more recipes. Thank you!:)
We spend the last week researching and setting up a mini-lab in the workspace (check out the Marina’s MiniLabDance and our chimney;) ), gathering utensils for first material try-outs. As a starting point for now we decided to work with food scraps since it seems to be the most approachable waste stream and it could be easily accessible for everyone everywhere.
As a start we extracted some starch from potato peels and separated gluten and starch from wheat flour. Wheat seems to work really well and the gluten is a pretty funny flexible, slimy material and as we popped a bit of it in the oven with dinner, it actually formed a pretty nice ball-thingy. The potato peels didn’t make a lot of starch, since most of the starch is in the potato itself , but we want to try to use them as a whole now. Maybe like these guys: https://www.chipsboard.com/
Moreover we are putting our heads together with our chefs to make edible materials to kill single use plastic waste streams at festivals and things like that, since Dave stumbled across these fabulous plates: http://biotrem.pl/en/
We are really excited to start more experiments next week and we’ll share more of research material we gathered in the coming days.
Let us know what you think!
LabLove from Eindhoven <3
Oh and here are some pictures of the gluten!
Thanks @dasjannis – I look forward to seeing the recipes.
This is a topic I was interested in for a little while over a year ago, and tried a few recipes (without much success).
I did some tests with boiled linseed oil – trying manganese dioxide (manganese IV oxide) as a catalyst to promote cross-linking – but the reaction was so slow that my samples are still “rubbery” a year later!
Another interesting substance is soy protein isolate – a powder that is sold as a food supplement for body-builders. I came across a paper that claimed that it could be “cooked” after mixing with magnesium oxide (which is sold as a horse feed supplement). I did a few tests, but it came out rather brittle. I also tried using the mixture as part of a composite with some fabrics – but, again, found it too brittle.
I might have another go if I can find the time 😉
I think this is amazing what you guys are doing. I worked for a milk company years ago and the automtive industry was our biggest customer they used a byproduct of milk called casein. This was used in dashboards because it can easily be formed.
have a look at this youtube clip. I will add a recipe in the database when i find one suitable.
That’s interesting, plastikfantastik, about automotive uses of casein. The article below suggests it isn’t used much nowadays (or at least the formaldehyde hardened version)
History of casein plastics
Maybe the compound they were using was without the formaldehyde, and used some other hardener.
I guess the video is basically of cheese-making 😉 (see curdling)
A couple of references for Soy-based adhesives:
More general information on Soy glue: Soy Properties and Soy Wood Adhesives (PDF – book chapter)
Good range of substances outlines in the following (open access) paper. It includes lignin, as mentioned by vdx2
In the Special Edition of Polymers : “Renewable Polymeric Adhesives”
Yep, it’s been a while.
@frogfall @plastikfantastik thank you guys for the replies! Papers on adhesives are super helpful! Protein-based plastic was one of the directions we were looking into from the beginning, but then we decided to narrow down for now.
So far, the main materials we work with are potato peels (endless source from our kitchen), and wheat bran. Both cheap, available everywhere, and are a waste/byproduct stream. Potato peels seem to be a good source for bioplastic since they already contain enough starch to bind and make nice hard boards. Wheat bran is interesting because it doesn’t need an extra binder either, when molded under heat press, and is great for edible disposable objects.
In the past few weeks, I was focusing on material try-outs and experiments with Precious Plastic machines, while Jannis was designing a mold for edible bowls – you can check it out here http://onearmy.world/community/forums/topic/heatable-mold-for-bioplastic-edible-materials-v4/
I used potato peels in two forms – as ground pieces and dry powder. I tried cooking them with a heat press, cold press, pre-cooked or not, with variations in ingredients, using a simple steel mold with baking paper in between. At some point, it became crucial to improve the mold as it was keeping the moisture inside, and the surface was uneven and weak in the middle. Here is an example on pic 1. In general, peel powder works well with heat pressure even simply mixed with water, as on pic 2. So the next step here is to test how it works with the new mold, which I’m very excited about! Will keep you updated.
Love from BeyondPlastic!
Apart from the board making, I had a side experiment with potato peels and tried to make a flexible material. Tried a couple of different techniques and ingredient proportions. So far the best one is on pic 1. I used a mixture with glycerol, pre-cooked it and pressed in the oven in a thinner mold. Looks and feels very “leather-like” which is cool, and hasn’t changed since the beginning of the month. But is still not strong enough, one can tear it apart pretty easily.
If you have any crazy ideas on making a flexy yet strong material, let us know!<3
I got some updates on the edible material from wheat bran:
I did a test row yesterday in the heatable mold I made figuring out the right recipes for the mold, while trying to push pressing time to it’s limits.
After a few try outs with little steam explosions and dried out, brittle parts, the best result so far was 2 minutes pressing at 140° C, using 81% wheat bran and 19% water (72g/17g). (The wall thickness of the bowl is 3mm, btw.)
The bowl is still a little soft when it comes out, but it hardens all the way with in a few minutes after coming out of the mold. And the surface appears to be pretty sealed, which seems promising for having soup out of it. But I will do proper water tests today or tomorrow.
Moreover I’m wondering if I should start adding different spices and tastes to , givi it that little special taste.
Let me know what you think! 🙂
Last week I did some experiments on shaping potato peel mass with the extrusion machine.
First, it was a general extrusion tryout where I made a continuous potato “wire”. While it’s still hot, it can be layered and stuck, which might be tried out in the 3d printing direction. An important thing here was not to put too high temperature, otherwise it is cooked too fast and gets stuck in the tube.
Then I tried to extrude it in a mold. The main learnings so far: 1. A pre-heated mold seems to give a smoother surface and finishes the cooking to some extent. 2. More pressure makes the surface even. Those which were extruded for a shorter time look rougher. 3. It shrinks a lot after several days when the moisture comes out, so I need to find a proper recipe/temperature to minimize it.
What do guys think?
quick update on the edible bowls:
I ran a little water resistance test last night and it kept the water for several hours. After roughly one hour it started to look less appealing for sure, but it took more than 4 hours (I went to bed at some point…) to get through the material.
This makes me hope, that soon we can eat our soups out of these bowls.
Next stop: making the material irresistibly tasty! 🙂
Yesterday we took over the bowl mold with potato peels.
After a couple of try-outs, we got an even nice bowl, still pretty moist though. Fast cooking with a higher temperature (around 120C) didn’t work here, the material got stuck to the mold and was very wet inside yet very dry outside.
So far the best one was cooked under 75-80C for 15min, also with some oil on the mold (bonus: a nice smell of fried potatoes! 🙂 )
the water resistance comes from the material being pressed properly. That means, when the mould closes completely and the moisture of the material can’t evaporate, it starts sealing the surface.
Therefore it’s important that the mould closes properly and that you use the proper amount of material for your mould 🙂
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