3D Seaweed Biopolymer Scaffolds

3D Seaweed Bio-polymer Scaffolds, left to right: (a) aqueous storage, (b) freeze dried, (c) air dried

A simple cylinder shape was selected to create 3D bio-polymer prototypes. Simplicity of form is desired at this stage to make variations evident. The same 3D bio-polymer formula was manipulated via different drying methods; aqueous storage, freeze drying and air drying. We are testing for moisture holding capacity and shrink rate.

The samples cast with some distortion; external shrinkage causing bulgingĀ  due to chemical cross-linking of the polymer. Sample (a) and (c) were soft and nice to carve. The freeze dried material was porous and open; possibly useful for seeding with other materials.

Only the structure of the freeze dried sample (b) is visible under microscopy. A combination of films and fibres were observed.

Sample (b): freeze dried 3D seaweed bio-polymer, microscopic image
Sample (b): Films: freeze dried 3D seaweed bio-polymer, SEM microscopy, CMBD
Sample (b): Fibres: freeze dried 3D bio-polymer scaffold, SEM microscopy, CMBD
Sample (c): 7 Days

Air dried, sample (c) continued to shrink and bulge. Microbial contamination is apparently a ‘good thing’ as it evidences the ability of the polymer to support life.

Sample (a) 7 days

Aqueous environment, sample (a) showed markedly less shrinkage and was also contaminated.


Natural seaweed 3D bio-polymer
Cross section natural seaweed 3D bio-polymer

Unrefined experimental natural seaweed 3D bio-polymer was produced toward the goal for zero waste and less energy consumption.

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