I recently joined a Biodesign group aiming to create eco-friendly products at UC Davis. My group wanted to create something eco-friendly and fun for our project. At the same time I was thinking of ideas for the project, My friends and I decided to have play a Nerf war outside to relieve some stress from school. My housemates and I decided to order a massive package of polyurethane darts online and were playing a game outside. At the end of the game, we were gathering our darts when we realized we had lost about ten darts. I felt guilty about losing so many pieces of plastic out in nature, and I wished there was a way to have a more eco-friendly foam dart that could biodegrade if lost.
I relayed the idea to my Bio-design group mates (a team that included a plant science major, a biochemistry major, and two designers, including myself and we decided to develop Bio Darts. We started by researching how current PU darts impact our planet. And the human impact of the proposed product. Our goals were to create a reusable dart that could break down easily in nature without a controlled environment for decomposition while also advocating for sustainable outdoor play for future generations.
Fabrication and materials
After another designer and I debated the form of the Bio Dart, we CAD modeled and 3D printed molds for the base and tip in which our biology partners could pour bioplastics.
After experimentation with various bioplastic recipes containing gelatin, agar, soap foams, algae foams, and cornstarch plastics, we found our materials to replace the plastic dart tip and PU foam base.
GEL DART: Gelatin, Water, Glycerine
FOAM BASE: Glycerine, Water, Gelatin, Dish Soap
This design is still in progress; however, we have finished phase one by finding a bioplastic solution and building our molds. To view more about Bio Darts, you can visit the website here: https://ucdbiodarts.wixsite.com/biodarts
end of phase 1