by Green Plastics
Dina is a product design student who is working on using bioplastic to make new products. At one point she asks:
Is it possible to mix the plastic with additional material, crushed egg shell for instance or Carob tree fruit (we have this one widely available) to make an interesting texture?
There are a lot of things that you can add to your home-made bioplastic during the mixing process, to make it more interesting or more visually appealing. The thing people use most often is food coloring, to affect the color of the end result. One American designer even used food flavoring, in his BITE ME product: an edible bioplastic lamp!
But you can also add solids, like you were suggesting. If you added something like crushed egg shell, the end result would be called a “composite” – a solid consisting of a binding material (“matrix”) and a fibrous or particulate reinforcement.
One commercial biodegradable plastic that is actually out on the market right now consists of a polymer matrix mixed with calcium carbonate, from crushed limestone. Your crushed egg shell idea is very similar.
As I’m sure you can imagine, there are very many possible combinations, and they would all have to be tested separately (for example, your carob fruit idea). You would probably want to experiment with small batches at first, where you try out different materials, possibly also in different amounts or concentration, to make sure that you get both the texture and visual properties that you want, but that the end result is still strong and hard and will not come apart or crumble.
Please feel free to send us pictures of your final product, with composite egg shells or any other material, and we will add them here to this article as illustration!