Mussel shell

Bio-Materials
Mussel shell

Calcáreo

Calcáreo studies the possibility of designing new manufacturing processes in design based on the bioreference of calcareous organisms of the marine ecosystem. The project questions and proposes a new way of relating and understanding matter based on less disruptive dynamics that foster a link with understanding natural systems.

Through the research and development of calcareous materialities, it seeks to involve people in a more active way in the reformulation of perceptions that we have with objects that surround us and their production cycles. This is why the processes and recipes developed are open source and of free access to open the barriers of entry to material experimentation.

The research understands the role of calcium carbonate biomineralization of some living organisms and the natural abundance of this biomass in the marine ecosystem.

In its first version, it promotes the use of a waste of great abundance in Chile’s mytiliculture industry, where tons of mussel shell remains are generated which are not used and end up being disposed of in landfills. Biobased Calcáreo arises from the experimentation and optimization of a biocomposite between milled mussel shells and an alginate solution, a polysaccharide derived from brown algae. With an appearance and properties similar to that of a ceramic material, its uses could be applied to a temporary or symbolic object, since upon submerged in water, it dissolves, reincorporating into the ecosystem.

Additional information:

Calcáreo for moulds:

Step one
1. Wash the mussel shells to remove remaining waste and dry.

2. Place the shells inside a cloth bag and smash them with a hammer.

3. Sift shells with a 5mm sieve to control the maximum size of shell particles.

4. Use a blender to grind the particles until they become powder

5. Once again, use a 1mm strainer to control the particles of the mussel powder

Step two
Mix the alginate powder with the water to make a 2.5% alginate solution. Stir to dissolve and leave hydrating for at least 24 hours.

Step three
Mix 450 ml of the ground mussel shells with 150 ml of the alginate solution.

Step four
Pour the mixture into a mould and place it in a dehydrator at minimum temperature (30°C). After a few hours you can remove it from the mould and continue the dehydration process

Step five
When you're done with the object you've made, it can be submerged in water and it will progressively disintegrate. The calcareous solution can then be used in plants to reduce the pH in soils.

Maker

Carolina Pacheco

References

Calcáreo, emergent biomatter / / algae - mussel based (Article)

Credits

Laboratorio de Biomateriales de Valdivia, Laboratorio de Biofabricación UC, Escuela de Diseño UC, Alejandro Durán, Antonia Valencia

Photo credits

Antonia Valencia, Omar Faúndez, Carolina Pacheco