By: EL Cheng
Jul 14, 2018 @ 12:57
How does it work?
Fungi forms a wide network of thin, root-like fibres called mycelium underneath the ground. Mycelium is dried to form an ultra-strong, water-mold and fire-resistant brick. The brick can be formed into any shape or size and it is stronger than concrete.
Mycelium goes through an accelerated aging to hasten the drying process. The material will go through 3 years’ worth of weathering (wind, rain, and humidity) in only 3 weeks to become a fungi brick. The brick is then baked at high temperature to kill the organisms to prevent the sprouting of the mushroom when there is appropriate moisture for breeding. Once enough mycelia have formed, it is placed in a mold which forces it to turn in to the desired shape.
Mycelium is currently being used as to create chairs and stools as demonstration. The use of Mycelium is environmental friendly as it is a form of local agricultural waste.
Hy-Fi is unlikely to totally replace concrete in buildings due to early stages of this technology. Although, incorporating Hy-Fi partially to building a structure can hasten the process and save energy spent on building the structure. Ross is confident that these my-co bricks can build a house that can fit 12 to 20 people at the same time in the future.
Mycelium are sustainable and will potentially be more environmental friendly compared to materials such as plastic and styrofoam. There is also a possibility in the future that mycelium can replace wood, which means that logging of trees will be significantly reduce and therefore, being able to preserve the environment. Mycelium has can replace the petroleum-based plastic that is much more environmental friendly. Petroleum-based plastic is widely used for the art industry.
Cheaper than concrete
To create the material, it only requires nutrients such as straw, sawdust, pistachio shells and other agrarian waste. These materials will allow the mycelium to have strength comparable to synthetic plastic polymer (PVC). The bricks can be grown in 5 days and can be stacked to create a structure.