Will people live inside a house made with building materials made of fungus? It’s not just a rhetorical question: fungi tend to be the most important to a newer low-carbon, fire-resistant as well as termite-deterring building material.This type of material, known as a mycelium composite, uses the Trametes versicolor fungus to incorporate agricultural as well as industrial waste to build lightweight but strong stones. It’s less expensive when compared with man made plastics or engineered wood, and reduces the range of waste material that goes to landfill.
Fungal stone prototypes made from rice hulls furthermore glass fines waste products.
Working with our colleagues, we used fungus to bind rice hulls (the thin covering that protects rice grains) and glass fines (discarded, small or contaminated glass). We then baked the mixture to produce a new, natural building material.
Creating these fungal stones is a low-energy and zero-carbon process. Their construction means they can be formed into many patterns. They are really therefore suited to a variety of uses, particularly in the packaging and construction industries.
A staple crop for more than fifty percent of the world’s population, rice has an annual global usage of more than 480 million metric tonnes and 20% of this is comprised of rice hulls. In England exclusively, many of us generate about 600,000 tonnes of glass waste material a year. Usually these rice hulls and also glass fines are incinerated or transferred to landfill. So our new material offers a cost-effective way to reduce waste.
Fungal stones make ideal fire-resistant insulation or paneling. The product is more thermally steady compared to synthetic construction materials such as polystyrene and particleboard, what kind of are derived from petroleum or natural gas.
Rice hulls, glass fines and the combination of rice, glass and fungi, before cooking.
This means that fungal bricks burn more slowly and having less warming, and release less smoke and carbon dioxide than their artificial counterparts. Their widespread use in construction would therefore improve fire safety.
A large number of fires occur every year and the main causes of deaths are smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. By reducing smoke release, fungal stones could allow extra time for escape or rescue in the event of a fire, thus potentially saving lives.Termites are a big issue: more than half of Australia is highly susceptible to termite infestations. These cost homeowners more than A $1.5 billion a year.
Our construction material could possibly provide a solution for combating infestations, as the silicon oxide content of rice as well as glass would make buildings less appetizing to termites.