New building materials for the bioeconomy

  New Materials  

The potential of fungal mycelium

Towards an imminent transformation of the construction industry, the circular economy is looking for solutions to lower emissions, CO2 footprint of buildings, and life cycles. In this context, the investigation of fungal mycelium composites has gained ground among researchers in recent years. The research conducted by the Chair of Structures and Structural Design (Trako) at the Faculty of Architecture is aligned with circular economy principles. It proposes replacing conventional construction materials with novel myceliumbased materials. Although most of the published research of fungal materials for construction focuses mainly on their favorable isolation properties, the researchers at Trako further explore the load-bearing capacity of these materials.

The virtual growth of fungal Bild 1: Substrat-Pilz-Myzel-Wachstumsverhältnistest mit Buchenholzspänen (grob und fein) und Ganoderma Lucidum in einer Petrischale. Dana Saez, Denis Grizmann, Martin Trautz, Anett Werner Neue Baumaterialien für die Bioökonomie Das Potenzial von Pilzen mycelium, combined with a lignocellulosic material such as wood, yields a promising scenario for a material that allows being shaped into any given form. Moreover, the fungal hyphae develop a network among the chipped-wood substrate connecting it into a matrix. This process also highlights mycelium’s binding capacity. Both properties, rapid virtual growth and binding, served as a basis for Trako’s research. We focused not only on determining the basics for defining the load-bearing capacity of the material but also on two possible case studies. The overall aim of the researchers at Trako is to develop fungal-based building materials that can con-tribute to the transformation of the oil-based economy into a sustainable, bio-(circular) -economy.

RWTH topics