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Living Station

Week 26
  • Learn from the Living Library

Recipe for Gelatine Bioplastics

GENERAL INFORMATION

Gelatine is made from collagen present in animal parts and comes in jelly, sheet or powder. It is a waste product from the meat industry, being repurposed for uses outside of the food industry.

 

RECIPE
INGREDIENTS FOR 500mL OF BASIC GELATINE BASED BIOPLASTICs

  • Gelatin 100g
    • the polymer to make the structure
  • Glycerine 25g
    • The plasticizer to make it flexible
  • Water 500 mL
    • The solvent to dissolve the materials
  • Essential oil 4 drops
    • Anti-bacterial to keep it from contaminating
  • Optional: embroidery hoop, textiles, meshes, moulds or other casting surfaces (surface transfers texture to your bioplastic)
  • Optional: Pigments, food colorants or natural dyes
  • Optional: Fillers: eggshell powder, coffee debris, chalk, fibers, etc.
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon of Dishwasher liquid

TOOLS

  • Pan (non-reactive)
  • Cooking plate
  • Scale (1g precision)
  • Thermometer
  • Spoon
  • Whisk

 

METHOD

 

  • Mix the gelatine with the cold water in your pot, and stir until dissolved. Warm up the mixture on your stove to a max of 80C.
  • Add the Glycerin and four drops of essential oil.
    • The general rule is the more glycerine, the more flexible the material, but too much will make it sticky
  • Simmer for 15 minutes while stirring regularly, then let the liquid cool for a couple of minutes while stirring, until it gels a little but is still liquid.
    • The mixture should be at least honey-like before casting.
    • Tip: Remove any froth with a spoon, or absorb it using a coffee filter or kitchen paper.
  • Optional: Longer cooking time (up to an hour) allows more water to evaporate and will dramatically reduce the shrinkage of your casted object. You will get a thicker liquid.
    • To cast larger volumes and solids with this recipe, evaporate a lot of water, until it’s very very thick.
    • Tip: Melting scraps can result in nice castings because they’ve already dissipated a lot of water.
  • Optional: Add a filler and mix gently until it is evenly distributed throughout the liquid.
  • Optional: Add a tablespoon of dishwasher and whisk until finely foamed to create a biofoam
  • Pour the desired mixture into your mould or on your chosen surface.
    • Pour slowly to avoid air bubbles
    • Tip: Don’t cast hot bioplastic on the acrylic that is thinner than 7mm, it will bend.
  • Let the material dry in a ventilated and dry room for a few days.
  • De-mould when your plastic feels solid – often after 24-48 hours.
  • Tip: regularly turn your piece over until it is dry, so as to avoid mold formation with long drying times.

 

REFERENCES

 

Textile Academy by Waag, 2020-2021, Link

Biofoil Gelatin by Loes Bogers, 2020, Link

Agar Wikipedia, 2023, Link

Gelatin Bioplastics Lab Pastoe by Shirley Niemans, 2021, Link

Bioplastic Cookbook by Anastasia Pistofidou, n.b., Link