DTU studerende Kristian Ullum Kristensen og Dan Skovgaard Jensen udvikler nye byggematerialer af svamperødder.

Boards and insulation of fungi can become new building materials

Thursday 30 Apr 20
Fungi grown on residual waste from hemp or cotton can become an alternative to mineral insulation and wood-based boards.

Building materials based on sheets of fungal roots, mycelium, might become a tender for sustainable building materials. Two master students from DTU have developed boards based on fungi, Nature Boards, which can replace wooden boards and insulation. The materials show surprisingly good fire retardant properties.

“The materials are produced from residual waste from hemp, cotton or textiles without nylon. And since the strength of the materials is created by the roots of the fungi, it takes very little energy to produce them. And when they are no longer needed, they are 100 percent biodegradable, ”says Dan Skovgaard Jensen, who studies Design and Innovation at DTU Mechanical Engineering.

Dan Skovgaard Jensen has developed Nature Boards together with Kristian Ullum Kristensen, who is also a master student at DTU Mechanical Engineering.

Currently, mushroom mycelium for packaging is well known, but building materials based on fungi are new..

Made from residual waste

The production of the mushroom building materials takes place in DTU's innovation hub, DTU Skylab. Here, residual waste is added to fungal spores, nutrients and water. Subsequently, the mixture is poured into special sterile bags. The fungus then shoots its white roots through the residual debris, forming a structure that can either be molded for insulation or pressed into boards.

After three weeks of growth, the fungi can either be molded into insulation bats that dry in, or the material can be broken up and distributed into molds. Here, the fungi quickly shoot new roots and form a new structure that can be pressed into boards.

Hard as a chipboard

The insulation is as light as flamingo and the boards are hard as chipboard. Both materials have shown good fire-retardant properties in fire tests at DTU Civil Engineering. Unlike wood products, the fungi roots help inhibit the ignition of building materials.

Dan Skovgaard Jensen and Kristian Ullum Kristensen believe that the materials can be used as a sustainable alternative to wood products and insulation in the construction industry.

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Photo: Søren Kristensen

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