Russian student develops bioplastic in home lab amid COVID-19 pandemic

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In Russia, a student at the National University of Science and Technology MISiS has made a bioplastic from gelatin and sawdust. Valeria Solovyova, who is pursuing a master’s at NUST MISiS’s Technologies and Materials for Digital Production program, created the material using wood waste, gelatin, glycerin, and water. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to adapt the process to work in her home lab.

“The idea came about by accident when I noticed a large amount of sawdust that remains from the milling machine (FlexiCAM) in our FabLab,” Solovyoya tells QSWOWnews. “I came up with the idea that this is a good organic filler and you can mix it with something, study the properties, see if it makes the material stronger. Of course, using sawdust from plywood cut on a milling machine is not the best option because of the contained glue and formaldehyde, but finding a new use for sawdust as a massive waste of woodworking became an interesting task for me. In my work I used clean coniferous sawdust.”

Many other organic fillers, including coffee waste, nutshells, and plant fibers, could also be used in place of saw dust, she adds.