Chitin-tastic Plastic!
Jason Pang, Andrew Xie
R C Palmer Secondary
Floor Location : M 061 N

Every year Canadian households alone throw away 13.4 million tons of plastic. This is not only devastating for the environment but will also heavily affect us, humans, in the near future in ways such as polluting our drinking water. Despite these horrific effects and the variety of bio-plastics with the desirable structural properties, the use of these naturally biodegradable plastics are still extremely limited today.
The purpose is to find out if chitin and chitosan, as some of the prime examples of materials that can be made into a bio plastic, extracted from cuttlebone can be used to successfully made into a pliable plastic with very similar properties as bio-plastics made from shrimp shell chitin.
The cuttlebone is treated with a 2.7M HCl and 2M NaOH with 0.1M acetic acid, 0.1M NaCl and glycerin. Finally the mixture is heated to make a gel like substance that is spread onto aluminum foil. The cooking method is altered slightly to find which one produces the best results. When the substance solidifies it will have turned into a sheet of bio-plastic. Finally an additional method using chitosan proved successful creating a layer of transparent material like bio-plastic.
The bio-plastic made using chitosan in the end was the only one that succeeded