A few months ago Jess the Materials Librarian at CSM and LCF suggested I contact the people at Sodra to possibly use this mouldable paper pulp material. She showed me a sample of the finished material. It was like a plastic styrene with a velvety surface finish. The material is really strong and was used for furniture. When I first approached Sodra the company were concerned the water wear would prevent the application in footwear. After a couple months being urged again by Jess I contact the company again explaining that these shoes were prototypes which could be applied to further research and development in which the water wear issue could be investigated further at a later stage.
They agreed and sent the material. Fantastic!
The pulp is paper so cellulose with a biopolymer. Water is added and then the material is poured or put into a mould which needs to compress and heated once the water is removed. In manufacturing a metal tool would be used with heat compression for best surface quality.
But we will have to rig up a workshop method to recreate this process as close as we can get. I am sure the surface quality will suffer a but these things go in stages!
Above is a link to the Sodra Labs website. In it the material is explained. We are using Durapulp as the pulp comes in three strengths.
In the workshop at the college I tried playing with the material initially as I do not have the moulds yet. This play was also to help inform what might be needed in the moulds.
I mixed the pulp with water…
Tested it under flat compression and let air dry.
The result was very dense and tough but really the material needs to be baked soon after or as it is compressed.
The toe was wrapped with pulp and gauze and let to air dry. I tried putting the material in the footwear flash oven and some densifying of the material happened but again this needs to happen as compressed or close to this stage.
Now in theory this material could work as it has been used on furniture as below…
(all from the Sodra website…)
So the chair is a “bucket shape” with nice draft angles…
I am hoping to create a “up-side-down” bucket with the side ledges that the felt sock with the stiffened sole can sit on – be glued in?