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MaDe Participant

Clara Acioli

The tree bioplastic

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1996, Clara Acioli is an artist and product design student at School of Fine Arts from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), researcher at NANO lab (Arts and New Organisms Nucleus), also from UFRJ. Researches biomaterials, such as kombucha biofilm and other biodegradable bioplastics; both for arts and products applications. In the beginning of 2019 started the graduation project focused on the cassava starch bioplastic, thinking on alternatives for the petroleum based plastic. Is searching and testing different textures and aspects, 3d forms, production methods, consistency, durability and the possibilities of the material. 

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Project Information
Material Qualities
Brown, natural, flexible, no smell, rought, graind or smooth, because it is a group of materials, it has some possibilities of characterization
Material Recipe
Tree parts (leaf, bark, fruit, kapok or seed) Mandioca starch: 1 Vinegar: 1.5 Vegetal Glycerin*: 0.15 ; 0.25 ; 0.5 Water: 4
Material Application
As using elements from a natural source, that is there for cleaning the air and improve the environment (and without harming it) and making biodegradable bioplastics, we are not only communicating people the importance of this trees and calling attention to the plastic problems as we are continuing and closing a cycle, the products made from this bioplastics could easily be decomposed and return to soil as nutrition for the trees.
Material Method
Seven steps needed to create the material.
• The first step is to colect the materials, barks that are already going out from the trunk and seeds, fruits and leafs from the floor.
• After that you need to prepare your raw material, separate the part you want to use, wash it, let it dry and then choose if you want it entire, in pieces, ground or in powder. To crush it or make it powdered, you need a grinder (or a mortar) and a strainer.
• The next step is to weight the ingredients, put all of them together in a bowl and mix it until it is the most homogenous possible (here goes the material you selected in the previous step, the cassava starch, glycerin, vinegar and water).
• Then you cook it in a pan until it goes sticky and changes color (homogeneously)
• The next step is to arrange it in a form or shape of desire, you need to pour it carefully to avoid bubbles and if needed straighten with a spreader.
• Let it dry. The time needed for this step depends on the size and thickness of your bioplastic and the weather or climate conditions of the place. If it is a small and thin piece in a dry and sunny weather it will take less time then if it is a big and thick piece in a wet and rainy weather.
• The last step is to carefully take the bioplastic out of the shape.

Material Narrative
I’ve been working with the cassava starch as a base for bioplastic for almost a year and I wanted to mix it with other things. When I got in Barcelona, I noticed this very beautiful tree that was peeling and has interesting round seeds. Searching a bit more I discovered it was the plane tree (or platanus hispanica), very common in the big cities in Europe, because it absorb a lot of pollution and toxins and improves air quality, it was perfect for experimenting and transforming into bioplastics. I started collecting parts from the tree, without harming it: the barks, leafs, seeds and fruits that was already on the floor, and used this elements to make bioplastics. It was very interesting to notice and evidence the diversity of materials we can get from the same tree specie, the final result is a collection of materials with lots of different textures, and qualities: one smoother and flexible, other harder and scratchy, other translucent and structured.
Material Classification
It is more similar to cooking than to an industrial material process, but I think the more homogeneous ones could be applied to an injection process, vacuum form or be used as a filament for 3d printer, but it would need more research.
• Lampshade
• Package
• Jewelry
• Wallet
• Cellphone case
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MaDe, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of The European Union, aims at boosting talents towards circular economies across Europe partnering with design and cultural institutions, Elisava, Ma-tt-er and Politecnico di Milano.

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