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Project Breathe aims to create sustainable masks from eggshell waste. Eggshells, along with other protein-rich waste, attract vermin and rodents, leading to their rejection by landfills. With 250,000 tons of eggshell waste produced worldwide each year, this waste type poses an increasing environmental and economic problem.
Project Breathe focuses on the use of egg membranes, the thin, white film-like material attached to eggshells. The egg membrane, which acts as a natural barrier to the egg embryo, is semipermeable, making it ideal for use as a breathing passage. Composed of fibrous proteins that create an irregular web-like structure with microscopic pore size, egg membrane is converted into a paper-like material through a traditional paper-making process. It is then coated with egg white solution to create a soft, non-woven fabric, inspired by traditional Asian fabric coating practices.
During the UK lockdown, a project was conducted to discover that egg membranes can stick together without any bonding material, thanks to their fibrous structure. The protein fiber was turned into a sheet material using a traditional paper-making method. Inspired by Chinese fabric-making practices, the material was then coated with an albumen solution to create a soft, non-woven fabric.
All the experiments were carried out in a home facility.
Project Breathe was showcased in a live talk during Fuorisalone 2020 and featured in the book Design, Materils and Making for Social Change (Routledge, 2023).
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