Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bridging the Gaps 4

Crystallising Sculpture

The intention was to ascertain whether rapid-prototyped nylon plastic could act as a suitable seed for the crystallisation of various chemically saturated aqueous solutions. If possible, and with good adherence of the crystals it would provide a means to contrast the precision of rapid-prototyped form, with the seemingly random arrangement of crystal and in turn, the ‘ordered perfection’ of crystalline structures.

With the collaboration of Dr Paul Kelly of the chemistry department, rapid manufactured nylon did indeed prove a suitable substrate for seeding crystals. Thus a series of studies were produced where the crystallisation was set up to occur either on the interior of a vessel like form, or covering the entirety of other cylindrical forms. The chemicals used included copper sulphate (blue), potassium cyanide (orange/red) and alum (clear). The more interesting aspect of the final results was the integration of the texture and colour of the crystals with the complexity of the rapid-prototyped geometries. The consequence of this was a softening of the RP surface along with an heightening of its aesthetic qualities.

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