Bioplastics Lighting Design

︎ Creator: Armie Masathienvong

︎ Supervisors:  Jennifer Bissonnette & Peter Yeadon

This project explored different bioplastic formulations, with a balance between stiffness, tensile strength, and opacity, to create a material to replace lampshades currently made with glass or plastic.

Reducing the use of non-renewable resources is essential for environmental sustainability. While glass is a robust material that can be molten down and recycled indefinitely without loss in quality and purity, the production of this material consumes a lot of energy, produces a significant amount of carbon dioxide and is relatively expensive. Thermoplastics are one of the most versatile materials that can be used in many applications but are typically made from non-renewable resources, cannot be recycled infinitely, and can be toxic to our health and the environment.

Flexible and translucent by nature, bioplastics can diffuse light and can be joined together using low heat without releasing any toxic fumes like other plastics would. The drawback for this material would be that it is not very water and heat resistant. The curing process for the bioplastic also requires a lot of space with low humidity. The bioplastic also uses gelatin, which is usually obtained from livestock such as pigs and cows. And, although it can be considered a byproduct of animal slaughter, the livestock industry still consumes a lot of energy, land and water, and significantly contributes to GHG emissions.

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