Project: Net·Worth – testing the materials…

Material processing…

The first main discovery was the fact whilst the top hopper is perfect for pelleted plastic, the shape and lightweight nature of the net meant that it did not easily ‘flow’ into the heating tube, but had to be pushed down the feed hole instead. This meant that wooden sticks had to be fashioned to get the net into the tubing safely (the tube has multiple heating collars that can be adjusted to the correct melting point of the plastic being used and therefore gets very hot)

The method was initially tested to get a ‘raw’ material rather than a finished product. As the shredder had been removed from the project, the net was trimmed by hand into small sections and fed into the tube, which was heated to different sets of temperatures to experiment with the process. Net material was fed from the top, heated for approximately 3 minutes and squeezed through the tube with the handle to form a long plastic sausage, which was allowed to cool. It was calculated that the single pull maximum volume capacity of the tube was 84 cubic cm, which would give a good level of scope for different products to be created.

Colour…

The trawl net material itself is an aqua green in colour, yet when processed, the ‘sausage’ darkens the material down, with some even darker green ripples. Whilst no longer a solid colour, the aesthetic of the new ‘raw’ material is distinct and interesting. However, this would need to be considered for the final product, and indeed, if other colours of net were used.

Through the materials that were picked up, there was a small volume of orange PP trawl net, which was also processed to raw plastic sausages, however, this orange darkened significantly and lost its vibrancy…