Taking care of Mother Earth has always been a hot topic for a few decades now, among environmentalists. Thankfully, research on mushroom blocks (yeah, you heard it right!) might help contribute to dealing with climate change in the future. Fungi are not only durable but also biodegrade when it’s time to knock them down, which can be a good alternative to concrete or other forms of more polluting materials.
Now, scientists have managed to create buildings out of fungus, which can develop into the desired design and even restore themselves when broken.
Materials made with mycelium, the fibrous roots of a mushroom might be able to help save the environment in the future. It was discovered that they have less carbon footprint than the traditional clay or concrete. And since mushroom blocks are biodegradable, they leave behind less harmful wastes than traditional building materials. Moreover, shrooms can even help with clean-up efforts because they feed off things that might have ended up in a landfill, like agricultural wastes and sawdust.
Construction materials are one of the major contributors of CO2 emissions. That is way more than the aviation and shipping industries combined; the problem keeps on getting worse each day.
Mycelium In Mushroom Blocks
In order to create mushroom bricks, mycelium is mixed with straw or other agricultural wastes, like corn husks, and allowed to develop for two weeks. It is then either mixed with chemical compounds or cooked in an oven to kill the fungus. Mycelia are carbon impartial, aside from being sturdy, moldable, lightweight, and fireplace resistant.
The finished product is very similar to a standard, concrete brick, solely made of natural materials instead of concrete or clay.
David Benjamin, founding principal architect of The Living, said that different countries have their own ways and approaches in dealing with climate change, and this material could just help jump-start their initiatives.
What FUNGAR Has To Say About It
Fungal Architectures, since 2019, has been experimenting with various construction materials out of mycelium.
However, Phil Ayres, another founding member of FUNGAR, hopes to nail past the mushroom bricks one day. He added that what’s happening at the moment, behind closed doors, is to kill the mycelium.
About 40 p.c. of carbon emissions come from building supplies and the construction industry. News ways in utilizing fungi may quickly be an eco-friendlier approach because it even biodegrades when it’s now not wanted.
One of many issues FUNGAR is currently working on is studying the concept of keeping the mycelium alive. It is an important part so that the fungus will be able to develop into a specific form.
Residing, living fungus means they will be able to self-repair. For instance, simply regrowing the mycelia thru electrical impulses to patch up an accidental hole in the wall.
However, the longer mycelium grows, the more it eats up the supporting materials that comprise it, weakening its overall integrity. Ayres theorizes that adding two useless layers and one dwell layer to make a partition inside might solve the problem.
The project plans to further its research by creating a free-standing structure made of living mycelium, then observe it for quite some time.
About NASA’s Interest…
NASA plans of utilizing mycelia for the future Moon and Mars habitats to save lots from having to deliver heavy construction supplies from spaceships.
Lynn Rothschild, an astrobiologist at NASA, likened the future habitat designs for Mars to a turtle – a dependable plan, but may prove to be costly and heavy. So, utilizing mycelia is a smart way of cutting costs once we get there.
Mushroom Blocks: Conclusion
Other environmentally-minded entrepreneurs are already adapting to mushrooms when it comes to furnishings, insulation, and even clothing. That’s because of its interesting properties – dense, buoyant, and waterproof. Construction materials out of shrooms are still in the early stages of R&D. But so far, the products prove to be a promising replacement for cement/concrete blocks. Hopefully, humanity will be able to tap its potential for a better and eco-friendlier future.
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