• Aarushi

Green Lab

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Week 18: Green Lab

Brief: Explore bio-material and design a product or an experience using the material.

Team: Aarushi, Melanie, Xiyun, Alexandra and Felix


Ande Gregson helped us understand the value of waste and how efficiently we can use bio-materials, especially Algae, and create different opportunities in the world using bio-materials.

Photo Credits: Aarushi | Green Lab


We learned how to work with bio-material and also how to produce it ourselves. The first step in this design process was very different from our usual design process. As we were supposed to make the material first and then brainstorm about our idea/concept.


We first made the material using different textures and colours, the textures in the material were created by using seaweed and different seeds, whereas the colours were made by using different organic colour pigment sources, such as Turmeric for yellow and beetroot for red etc.


We started our process by making the material first and then experimenting with the material using different mediums to have a better understanding of the properties of the material. Some of the mediums and methods we used to explore bio-material were: Hot Water, Cold Water, Fire and Tensile strength.


1. Making the Material

Photo Credits: Aarushi | Green Lab


2. Experimenting with the Material

Photo Credits: Aarushi | Green Lab


After experimenting we understood that the material takes time to dissolve in cold water in comparison to hot water, and it is not very easily flammable, the tensile strength of the material is also strong enough to contain stuff inside and it is also easily bendable which gives us more opportunity to create different types of products. Subsequently, we understood the basic properties of the material and then we brainstormed on different ideas. Some of the few initial ideas were creating products such as Lampshade, laptop sleeve, phone case, packaging, speakers, cosmetics and so forth.


We decided to go ahead with Bio-speakers as all of us were interested in sound. Well to understand the mechanism of the speaker we spoke to Greg, and regarding the sound properties of the bio-material, we spoke to Ande. After talking to both the experts, we became aware of the fact that the known sound properties of the material are not so great, and also creating a speaker was a complex product for the given time. The conclusion was that we can make the sleeve of the speaker, which all of us didn't find very exciting.


Hence, we continued our brainstorming to come up with an experience instead of a product. After doing our further research about different types of Algae and the various uses. We came to the conclusion that the best implementation of the material was to use is to contain something (Tiago,2012).


Seed Container | Photo Credit: Aarushi


Our final idea was to use the material to infuse tea in it so that it completely dissolves with the water leaving no waste at all. The second implementation of the same concept was to use the material to contain fish food and help cleaning the sea/oceans using algae. Our research findings informed us that the algae can help clean toxins in the water to a period of time, but if left for a longer period it could convert into toxic algae itself (Zia, Zuber and Ali, 2018). Following which, our second concept was to use algae material as a container for fish food, where these pouches will be hanged by a string to a part of the ocean for a particular time but will be removed before the algae become toxic.


Final Design

Final Design | Photo Credit: Aarushi


Feedback:

The tea bag idea was appreciated whereas the second concept of the fish food algae containers for the sea did not get the feedback we speculated. Most of the people did not really understand the purpose and the system we wanted to intervene. It is totally understandable as the concept was based on the ongoing research in the field. Overall the feedback gave us good insights about how to make our idea easier to understand and convincible to people.


My personal experience was great in the green lab, I found it was very similar to my passion and I would like to research more in the area, I might take this forward for my future projects as well.


Final Presentation | Picture Credit: John Fass


References:


Tiago H. Silva, Anabela Alves, Elena G. Popa, Lara L. Reys, Manuela E. Gomes, Rui A. Sousa, Simone S. Silva, João F. Mano & Rui L. Reis (2012) Marine algae sulfated polysaccharides for tissue engineering and drug delivery approaches, Biomatter, 2:4, 278-289, DOI: 10.4161/biom.22947


Zia, K., Zuber, M. and Ali, M., 2018. Algae Based Polymers, Blends, And Composites. Amsterdam [i pozostałe]: Elsevier.

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