Mechanics of Bioplastics

Queen Mary Elementary
Floor Location : J 050 V

Did you know that 6/10 animals have plastics in their bodies? If these plastics were biodegradable, then the plastics would have been gone before the animals reached them posing no harm to the animal. rnFor the first part of my project, I studied three commercially available decomposable plastics: Capers bioplastic container, SPUD decomposable shopping bag and Daniel le Chocolat Belge chocolate bag. I placed them in twelve different environments. The control environment was the samples exposed to air. I exposed my plastics of a controlled size to water environments to see if water could weaken the bioplastics; acidic environments to see the effects of acid rain on the plastics; north and south locations because they each receive different amounts of sun. In the south and the north locations, I put them in composts, below and on top of the ground. I put them in the composts to see if it was significantly better than planting it underground in the backyard. I put them on top of the ground to see if it was better than burying them. I then placed three samples of each: manufactured bioplastic and normal plastic (my control) in each of the environments and observed them every few days during two months. At the end of the experiment, Daniel le Chocolat Belge plastic decomposed the fastest. It decomposed entirely in the north and south compost, and the north backyard underground. Of these locations, the north compost decomposed the plastics the fastest. None of the plastics exposed to solely to air, water or acid decomposed. rnSecondly, made many homemade bioplastics ranging in composition from 100% starch to 100% gelatin. rnI then planted two samples of a controlled size of each of my homemade bioplastics and Daniel le Chocolate Belge bioplastic as a comparison. I put the bioplastics in two different locations, the worm compost because it is the most controlled environment and north compost because it decomposed the bioplastics the fastest in the previous experiment. For two weeks I checked the bioplastics every three days. All of my bioplastics decomposed in both environments, and Daniel le Chocolat Belge plastic had no visible change in the north compost but was almost entirely decomposed in the worm compost. rnFinally I devised a strength test to detect a variation in molecular structure in the plastics that had no visible change but were exposed to different environments in part one. In the end Daniel le chocolat plastic was more often that not weaker if it had been exposed to acid. The strength of Capers and my control plastics was not affected when exposed to different environments.rn