In the future world Aneka Jansen finds herself in, bio-plastic has become the material of choice for just about everything. The name is actually a catch-all term for a family of materials sharing the same basic structure. Bio-plastic is a traditional polymer-based plastic material infused with an organic nano-virus. This makes bio-plastic almost indestructible; given air, moisture, and sunlight the material is quite capable of repairing damage to itself. It is also self-cleaning; no more laundry days and your car digests bird droppings instead of needing to have them washed off. Just to make this stuff even more attractive, and useful, it comes in a variety of forms useful for different things, and is used as the basis for other materials. A few examples:
- Ultraskin. One of the first bio-plastic materials to be developed and still one of the most ubiquitous, Ultraskin is a thin, hardy material which stretches, making it useful for manufacturing (skin-tight and often translucent) clothing. Aneka’s outfit in the illustration is made from Ultraskin.
- Plastex was the first of the bio-plastic materials to make it out of a laboratory and it was given the name since it looked like “plastic latex.” Ship-suits, the basic vacuum suits worn by most spaceship crews, are made of nano-fibre reinforced Plastex. It is tougher than Ultraskin and impermeable to air and water. In the illustration, Ella is wearing a ship-suit, and both girls are wearing Plastex jackets and belts. Ella’s boots are a higher density Plastex.
- Adanymax. The first of the structural bio-plastics carried this name and it became a generic term for heavier grade versions. These materials are used in light construction as well as forming the shells of weapons, cases, and any other tasks requiring structural strength and light weight. In the illustration you can see adanymax in the equipment casings and the shell of Aneka’s blaster. The metallic parts of Aneka’s boots are actually a form of adanymax.
- Plascrete is not actually a pure bio-plastic. Ceramic particles are bound into a bio-polymer lattice creating a material which looks like concrete and has much of the same properties, but can also handle some element of self-repair, and is far more flexible and easier to form into shapes than traditional concrete. The wall and floor in the picture would be Plascrete, though it can be coloured easily enough, and textured.
- Nusilk and Biweave are examples of “bio-plastic cloths.” Nusilk uses finely spun bio-plastic fibres which are then woven into a material which does look like glossy silk. Biweave has thicker threads wrapped in Nusilk fibres and woven into a material which resembles cotton or denim. There’s none of these in the picture, but if you go find the one for Ella’s character article, her top is a Nusilk material with Biweave edging and straps.