mussel shells

byssus + alginate
- recipE -

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100ml water
  • 7gr sodium alginate
  • 28gr byssus
  • 2gr calcium chloride

PROCESS:

  1. clean the byssus
  2. prepare the alginate solution
  3. mix and mold
  4. post-treatment: cross-linking

CLEAN THE BYSSUS

1.

  • Debeard the mussel removing the byssus with your fingers or with the help of a knife
  • Wash the byssus with soap trying to remove the bigger parts of shells remained attached
  • Leave the byssus dipped in vinegar for 3 days approx. to remove residual shells
  • Rinse it again and drain the excess water

PREPARE THE ALGINATE SOLUTION

2.

  • Pour water into a tall container with a lid and add the alginate
  • Mix well with a whisk. It can help you closing the lid and shaking the container for a couple of minutes
  • Leave the solution in the fridge overnight to make it homogeneous and to let out the air bubbles

MIX AND MOLD

3.

  • Add the byssus to the alginate solution and mix well
  • Pour the pulp achieved into a mold and spread it flat
  • Protect it with a gauze and let it dry in the sun

Post treatment: cross-linking

4.

  • Prepare a 1% calcium chloride solution with water
  • Spray the byssus composite with the calcium chloride bath
  • Let it air dry. It is now water resistant (but will absorb water if soaked)
  • You get a resistant material that can be molded and shares machining properties with wood