made with pulp and dish soap (as a surfactant), foamed paper held against the sky looks much like a cloud
molo was recently invited to participate in the Elevate Design poster project (elevatedesign.org). The project asks participants to, “take this opportunity to alter the plane, investigate the latent spatial possibilities that this sheet of paper embodies” by modifying the poster and photographing the result.
We received the poster rolled up in yellow tissue paper and placed in a cardboard mailing tube. Our intention was to perform some foaming tests with this paper. We wanted to reconfigure the current paper structure into another more volumetric, lightweight structure using bubbles. This became part of a larger paper pulp research project that we are working on with Mark Martinez and James Olson, materials science Engineers from the University of British Columbia.
First, we removed poster from tube, separated the tape from the tube, then separated the mailing tube, tissue paper and poster.
We then weighed the poster – 32.39 grams.
We took a small sample section from the poster and performed a fiber analysis with a “Fiber Quality Analyzer”. The Fiber Quality Analyzer machine was actually designed by James Olson, one of the engineers that we are collaborating with on paper pulp experiments, the first version was made in 1992 from LEGO. The Fiber Analyzer uses polarized light to capture image of particles, the particles are aligned in a narrow stream with water that the camera can focus on.
The test shows that the paper is made from hardwood pulp (possibly aspen, poplar or eucalyptus) and that the fiber is relatively short. Short fiber generally produces weak bonds (although other factors such as surface area of bonds will affect strength.)
This gives us an idea: maybe the cardboard mailing tube contains longer fibers? If so, we could use some of these to reinforce the shorter poster fibers.
We begin taking the mailer apart, and in doing so, we notice that it is made from thinner layers of unbleached kraft paper glued together with starch to form a thicker laminate. We decide to test the cardboard mailing tube layers separately. The testing shows that the outer layers are made up of short fibers (for a tighter weave – better printing, not “dusty”, smoother) and the inner layers are made up of longer fibers (for strength). The inner layer fibers have an average length of 1.77 mm (perhaps a northern coniferous tree). As a reference point cotton fibers tend to be about 1mm and hemp about 4mm.
We are able to re-pulp the cardboard tube in a “British Desintegrator” and then separate the fiber into the different lengths using a “Bauer Seperator”. We perform some mixture and forming tests using another kind of short fiber paper (recycled office paper), before we start trying to make foam with the poster paper and tube.
We pulp some test paper and mix it with water to create a 1% suspension.
We foam a number of test mixes in the “Normal Sheet Maker”.
· Test mix 1: Add 50 mL of 1% suspension, 2 drops dish soap (as a surfactant) and 2000mL water
· Test mix 2: Add 300 mL of 1% suspension, 2 drops dish soap and 2000mL water
· Test mix 3: Add 300 mL of 1% suspension, 2 drops dish soap and 750mL water
· Test mix 4: Add 300 mL of 1% suspension, 3 drops dish soap and 400mL water
We used a glass beaker as a form for “test mix 4″ (the water settles to bottom and foam sits on top). We then tried different drying techniques including an Isotemp oven at 105º C for 1 hour which resulted in a fluffy foamed paper structure (with very little strength).
Strength in paper making relies primarily on hydrogen bonds and the capillary action that pulls the fibers together to form these bonds. The next tests will focus on achieving stronger bonds through forming and drying processes.
The original cappello as sold on molostore.com
Recently we introduced our cappello LED lamp – a further version of love letter (love letter is now sold out.) We have since come up with a series of variations that cappello owners can apply to their own lamps. In the images below, the original cappello, as sold, is first and the following images below show different ways that we have played with the design. Others will probably come up with their own unique versions – which I would love to see.
cappello is available through our own molostore.com which we designed as way to sell our products directly. Launching molostore has empowered us to sell work of different types, ranging from production to one-off items. The site gives us a way to communicate directly with people interested in our work and allows us to sell products with pricing that reflects direct sales from us to customers. Its an exciting experiment for us and we are determined to work with it in creative ways rather than simply treating it as a consumer tool.