Bioplastics are the plastic of the future and a step in the right direction towards sustainable production. Made from renewable resources such as starch and gelatin, biodegradable plastics are an optimal solution to their petroleum based counterparts. Today, bioplastics are being utilized in packaging, electronics, and medical applications that include bone repair, cardiovascular care, and tissue regeneration.
Using common kitchen ingredients, 1B Biomedical Engineering and 2A Systems Design Engineering students are able to make their own biodegradable plastic and test its properties. With a variety of possible ingredient ratios and recipes, students are given the opportunity to make predictions and experiment before comparing results with classmates. Students then test their plastics, and use these results, as well as knowledge learned in the classroom, to make improvements. At the end of the activity, students present their findings to the class.