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Hi.

I am Ana (also called Ana Banana). I come from Spain but I have been living in London for almost 7 years now. I am a Materials Engineer working designing prosthetic components for amputees. In my spare time, I make sure I spend most of it in school, being a STEM ambassador or baking a strange recipe I have found online.

This whole thing started as a result of winning I'm an Engineer, Get me out of here. I was awarded with a small price to use in Outreach activities. From the beginning, I realised that I should make the best out of the prize and therefore, by just organising a Workshop, I would not be able to each as many students as possible. This is  the reason why I decided to start this: to be a permanent resource available worldwide for everyone  to enjoy.

Milk plastic

Milk plastic

Equipment

  • Cheesecloth
  • Source of heat: microwaves, stove.
  • Elastic bands
  • Non-metal 250ml cups or beakers. Don't use plastic in a stove.
  • Wooden sticks or spoon to stir
  • Small measuring jug

Optional

Ingredients

  • 150ml milk
  • 15ml vinegar

Instructions

- Measure out 150ml of milk into a beaker and heat on a hotplate or stove.

Glass of milk

Β 

- When simmering, take off/turn off heat and add 15ml of vinegar to the milk.

- Stir for a few minutes. The mixture will separate out into a liquid and a solid known as β€œcurds and whey”. Leave to cool for a few minutes - Use elastic bands to secure the cheesecloth over the top of the other beaker allowing for a dip in the middle rather than stretched tight. - Pour mixture through the cheesecloth to filter off the solid from the liquid. This can be quite slow.

- Gather up the solid in the linen and squeeze off as much liquid as possible.

- Pat the solid as dry as possible with some tissue.

- Squash it together and mould it.

- Leave it for a few days to dry out.

Mould milk plastic

As I moulded it in the shape of a small bowl, when dried, I did paint it with  on the inside and Gold leaf paint on the outside.

Remember, you are now are left with a tough but brittle plastic.

What you have just made is called Casein plastic. Casein is a type of protein that can be found in cow's milk, and makes up up to 80% of it. 

Casein molecules are monomers. When we add vinegar to the milk, it changes the pH of the milk and makes the casein molecules to reorganise forming long chains and therefore, polymers. When we dry up the dough, the molecules interlock achieving a hard plastic.

Foam (Part 1)

Foam (Part 1)

Filtration

Filtration