TRANSFORMATION OF SEAWEED
TRANSFORMATION OF SEAWEED I 2017
Most of the earth is covered by water and offers enormous potential for growing seaweed. This resource does not need fresh water or agricultural land. Moreover, seaweed produces oxygen and purifies the water. Due to its physical and mechanical properties of high stability and elasticity, many possible applications can be envisioned from a material designer’s perspective.
Seaweed has various analogies to the materials we already know. It can have the feel and appearance of leather or rubber. But it can also be transformed into a material, which is similar to paper, plywood or plastic. The main component of brown seaweed is alginate: a biopolymer that can be extracted, transformed into a gel and spun into a strong yet flexible yarn in various thicknesses. A range of purely natural pigments that originate from microalgae can be added to achieve sophisticated colour hues. This allows a wide range of textile applications. Such utilisation of seaweed provides a closed loop life-cycle – from ecologically useful cultivation, through processing and use, to recycling. Transformation of Seaweed is a material research project, exploring the potential uses of the whole seaweed Laminaria. The result is a material library that archives the various processing techniques.