Last week in my weaving class we took a trip over to the Material Sciences department at my school to see how that polymer fiber I was working with is made.
This stuff is just polymer, not the stuff that will break down on the body, but I believe it's the same process to make both.
These get melted down...
... in this crazy-looking machine called an "extruder".
Pictures to help us artists understand what's going on. This stuff is the "thermoplastic".
Lindsay putting some of the polymer beads in the extruder.
The fiber will get pulled through this icky water after it's melted down and spun around this screw thing inside the machine.
It first comes out this end (and smells like hot glue).
Into the nasty water.
And pulled out and rolled onto a cylinder thing. The speed of the cylinder determines the thickness of the fiber.
So I obviously still don't understand the science-y stuff behind all of this, but it was really interesting to see.