Trouble Shooting: Revisiting and Improving Polymers

Revisiting Polymers Experiment (a)

After making works with the seaweed ‘leather’*, I found that it behaved like natural seaweed in that it was susceptible to changes in weather.  Damp conditions made it fragile and difficult to handle. I wanted a stable and more resilient film.

We attempted to produce waterproof films by mixing and pouring polymers with different attributes. These resulted in cracked, dry or brittle films. To date we had not produced a ‘natural seaweed’ polymer film that was soft, flexible and waterproof.

Dual poured polymer: brittle

I decided to work with earlier material as a base and laminate it with other polymers rather than limiting experiments to mixing or pouring materials.

Failed poured dual polymer

Lamination is the process of manufacturing a material in multiple layers to achieve improved qualities; strength, stability, appearance, or other properties.

Laminations: producing water resistant flexible films

Laminating the materials produced strong and flexible films.

I will be working with the improved materials for future art projects and expect they will respond better to manipulation.

Revisiting Polymers Experiment (b)

A gel polymer film made with Peng Su was discarded because it was too sticky. After some weeks it was revisited and the stickiness was gone.  We made a larger batch that was dried longer and the film was perfected.

Discussion regarding applications of all these polymers followed (including those needing improvement) as all had merit.

*for seaweed ‘leather’ see earlier posts.

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