Design and Testing of Mycelium Biocomposite
The growing global understanding of ecological footprints and environmental pollution invented by humans is gainfully affecting our material design practice, pushing the search for more sustainable alternatives, and development of natural biocomposites. In this research, the natural ability of saprophytic fungi to digest and bind lingo-cellulose is utilized to develop natural bio-composite materials for novel applications in design and architecture. This study aims to provide an insight into the production methods of mycelium-based materials and an indication of the structural performance of these bio-based materials. Several fungi species were grown on varied local agricultural-growth wastes, and different growing conditions were carefully elucidated to evaluate which pair of fungi-plant material provides the most suitable combination for product applications. The fungi; Polyporus Squamosus, Pleurotus ostreatus, and Volvariella volvacea were grown on woodchips of Mansonia altissima, Terminalia Ivorensis, Brachystegia nigerica, Combretodendron macrocarpum, Kyaya ivorensis, and Hemp. A detailed study of the mechanical behavior under compressional and flexural conditions was also evaluated. At 70% deformation, the maximum compressional stress for the optimum composition (hemp with Grey dove mushroom) was found to be 0.452 MPa. The maximum flexural stress for the optimum composition (hemp with oyster mushroom) was obtained at 0.397 MPa. The samples were also tested for selected properties including water absorption rate, density, and quality impression. By examining these fundamental materials characteristics, we aim to achieve a thorough understanding of the structural and aesthetic opportunities that this novel bio-material should offer. The current stage of the research shows that the most efficient integrations where the samples of Polyporus ostreatus grown on Hemp woodchips. Future work will focus on chemical treatment of the fibers, locating essential variable parameters and post-processing to achieve desired material properties and introduce innovative characteristics and functions over existing industrial products and applications.