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MaDe Participant

Clara Davis

Calgina (Calcium Alginate Spirulina)

Clara Davis is a textile designer focused on the research of biomaterials and new technologies in the fashion sector. She has a degree in textile design from the National School of Fine Arts in Lyon (France) and in textile manufacturing and biology applied to fashion from the School of Fabricademy (Spain). Clara worked 3 years in the Fabtextiles department of Fab Lab Barcelona. There, between digital fabrication and electronics, she learned how to use machines such as laser cutter, 3D printer, electronic embroidery machine to develop smart and sustainable textiles. Today, she is teaching innovative technologies and bio designs applied to fashion at BAU, a school of design in Barcelona.

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Project Information
Material Qualities
Color: Blue.
Soft / hard: Flexible.
Shiny / matt: Shiny.
Smells: Spirulina.
Texture: Smooth, rubber or silicone like.
Others: Waterproof, heat resistive, biodegradable, compostable.
Material Recipe
- Sodium alginate (5%).
- Glycerin (16%).
- Water with phycocyanins (79%).
- Curing solution : calcium chloride (6%), water (94%).

- Phycocyanin Extraction : Spirulina, called “blue-green algae”, contains two color pigments : green pigments, the chlorophylls and blue pigments, the phycocyanins. The interesting fact is that the phycocyanins are water-soluble while chlorophylls aren’t. Therefore, it is easy to separate the two pigments with water and a simple coffee filter.
- Mixing the ingredients : Mix the sodium alginate powder with the glycerin, until obtaining a liquid and homogenic solution. Then, add the water. The mixture become viscous and difficult to mixte. You can use a mixer if you have difficulties to obtain a homogeneous jelly paste by hand.
- Molding : Spread the dough on a flat surface, it can be a piece of cloth or baking paper for example. You can wait until the gravity distributes the mixture evenly or use a mechanical press.
- Solidifying : Once you have the shape desired, spray your curing solution of calcium chloride on the sodium alginate mixture and create the bonds of the material molecule chains.
- Drying time : Place your biomaterial in a dry and clean space and wait approximatively 7 days to be completely dry. Be careful, the material will shrink during the drying process.
Material Application
Calgina can be used for a large range of applications because of its abilities to resist to water and high temperatures.

This bioplastic could be a possible alternative to PETE plastic like soft drinks bottles, mineral water, fruit juice containers, cooking oil...

It could be an excellent replacement for water bottles also because of its healthy properties but it could be interesting to create alternative products like beauty products or regenerative body suit.
Material Narrative
Imagine a world where objects would have augmented biological functions. A world where the materials and the objects are designed to interact with their environment and the human body. A world where human constructions are growing in harmony with nature and thought for the human well being.

Calgina is a biomaterial that highlight those values. Made of sodium alginate, calcium chloride and spirulina, Calgina is a material that result amazing immune system boosting properties. Calcium alginate, derivative of brown algaes, is a material commonly used in molecular gastronomy for making spherification. Spirulina, also coming from algaes, is a cyanobacteria recognized for its antioxidant properties and to prevent against several diseases. This two edible components are safe and healthy for the human body.

In addition to its caring properties, Calgina is waterproof and can resist to high temperatures. I imagined to use this bioplastic to create healthy glasses or water bottles that could provide vitamins to the human body.
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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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