The mushroom that works like a green 3D printer

Their new material – made using their own special recipe – has promising properties and could serve as a replacement for plastic.


It’s not simply mycologists who are keen on the physical properties of mushrooms. Today, a developing community of environmentally conscious consumers is looking all the more carefully at mycelium, or the piece of mushrooms that develops underground.

This string-like substance can tie together different substrates, for example, woodchips, and the subsequent blend can be formed into things like blocks, boards, pressing chips, furniture, and a large group of different articles. Eight understudies at ENAC are considering how mycelium – which people can develop themselves – could possibly be utilized to supplant plastic.

Gaël Packer, an environmental engineering student at ENAC, said, “This idea came up when we met with architecture students at our school to develop an original, innovative alternative to existing building materials, which generate a lot of pollution.”

Roused by a TED talk, he and his classmates chose to lend their help to this noteworthy community worried about the eventual fate of the earth. As future modelers and development engineers, they understand that, because of resource depletion, a portion of the present building materials won’t be around forever, and that current materials create a considerable measure of discharges for the duration of their life cycle, from generation to transfer.

Today several grow-it-yourself kits are available online; all you need is mycelium, a substrate, and a bit of patience. Rather than use a grow-it-yourself kit, the students made their own version of the mixture using mycelium from local oyster mushrooms and fibers from hemp grown in the Jura region.

At that point, furnished with a scientific measurement of logical wariness hidden in hopefulness, the understudies tried out their mushroom-inferred material.

Packer said, “We worked with several EPFL labs to test the material’s key properties: thermal insulation, acoustic absorption, compressive strength, and water- and fire resistance.”

“We discovered that its thermal insulation capacity was on par with other insulating materials, that it could easily withstand the weight of a human body, that it floats and is watertight, and that it is fairly fire-resistant. Acoustic absorption tests are still underway.”

“Although further testing is needed, the results so far are highly promising and show that the material’s properties are similar to those of expanded polystyrene. We can certainly improve those properties further by adjusting the composition of our mixture, whether in terms of the substrate or the mushroom feed.”

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