- story by MaterialDistrict
The Chinese mitten crab from Asia is one of the most invasive species and they are taking over the rivers in the UK. The crabs are unwanted in the UK so Jeongwon Ji wanted to work out what she can do with them as a resource instead.
Ji extracted a derivative of glucose called chitin from the crustaceans and combined it with water and glycerin to form a new material she calls Crustic. The end product is a non-toxic, biocompatible plastic that’s also individually distinct: as it cures, the material loses the unnaturally perfect shape it gets from the mould it was formed in to feel slightly rougher and more organic. And, by using a natural product sourced from an overpopulated species, Ji seeks to promote an effective, sustainable material that has all the benefits of plastics without the harmful downsides.
- Other naturals