A new fungi-based 3D printing material has been developed by researchers.


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The researchers from the Shape Lab at Graz University of Technology have unveiled a groundbreaking 3D printing material called MyCera. It is made from a combination of clay, wood sawdust, and mycelium, which is the vegetative part of fungi. The main objective behind the development of MyCera is to reduce CO2 emissions and address global waste management issues.

In their research project, the Shape Lab team utilized mycelium as an intelligent fiber reinforcement to enhance the structural performance of 3D printed unfired clay elements. Additionally, they found that the material allows for the bio-welding of fired elements. One of the key advantages of MyCera is its ability to continue growing even after being 3D printed, resulting in high-tensile strength and improved structural performance.

These findings have been published in the International Journal of Architectural Computing under the title “MyCera. Application of mycelial growth within digitally manufactured clay structures.” The research paper explains that the goal behind this study is to find a sustainable, long-term solution to waste management and CO2 emissions in the building and construction industry.

The researchers noted that the composite material MyCera demonstrates remarkable structural properties compared to a similar mixture without mycelium. They believe that the significant increase in tensile strength is due to the growth process that occurs after printing. According to them, this type of intelligent fiber distribution would not be achievable with a non-growing material.

To conduct their research, the Shape Lab team utilized the Delta WASP 40100 Clay 3D printer from Italian manufacturer WASP. They found that this open system printer, with its scalability and ability to print with a variety of paste-based materials, was well-suited for their project. The team successfully 3D printed with MyCera using the Delta WASP 3D printer.

In addition to improving the structural performance of 3D printed clay, the researchers discovered that mycelium can be used to bio-weld different components together. They were able to create various structures by combining 3D printed elements in a state where the mycelium continued to grow. The growing mycelium fibers of node elements formed connections through an expanding hyphal network, resulting in successful bio-welding of adjacent elements.

This breakthrough has significant implications for the construction industry as it offers a more sustainable alternative to traditional concrete. The team plans to conduct further research to explore the potential of MyCera in replacing cement-based binders. They intend to compare the structural effect of mycelial fiber reinforcement with other commonly used fibers like basalt and glass fibers to assess the material’s tensile strength.

The use of mycelium in additive manufacturing is not new. At AM Summit Denmark 2023, the largest annual 3D printing conference in Scandinavia, the Danish AM Hub showcased the I AM MSHRM project. This collaboration with Bjarke Ingels Group involves the design and part-construction of a sustainable temporary structure in the form of a donut. The structure’s frame is 3D printed using plastic waste, locally sourced sugarcane, and cornstarch, and then filled with mycelium to create the walls. This innovative approach allows for a quicker growth time compared to traditional construction materials, as mycelium panels can be grown in 20 days or less.

London-based design studio Blast Studio has also developed their own method for 3D printing with mycelium. They successfully 3D printed a living architectural building column using this bio-based material. The biomass structure, which stands over two meters tall, provides both strength and the necessary growing conditions. At the end of its life cycle, the mycelium-based structure can be fully composted, making it an environmentally friendly choice.

The development of MyCera and the growing use of mycelium in 3D printing demonstrate the potential of bio-based materials in revolutionizing the construction industry. By reducing CO2 emissions and promoting sustainable waste management, these innovations offer a greener alternative to traditional building materials. As more research is conducted, we can expect further advancements in this area and the possibility of a more environmentally conscious future in construction.

Innovative and Sustainable Architecture: A Building Column Made of Mushrooms

When it comes to architecture and design, the possibilities are expanding beyond our wildest dreams. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and one project that perfectly embodies this spirit is the mycelium building column.

The mycelium building column is an exciting and innovative project that was spearheaded by Paola Garnousset, co-founder of Blast Studio. The goal of this project was to create a multi-purpose structure that could not only be used as a building column but also be harvested for mushrooms. Talk about multifunctional!

This groundbreaking project is a great example of how sustainable materials and practices can be integrated into the world of construction. Mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus, is the key component of this unique building column. It is a material that is not only strong and durable but also incredibly environmentally friendly.

The process of creating these mycelium building columns is equally fascinating. First, a 3D printing technique is used to create the desired shape and structure. This enables the column to be customized to fit specific architectural needs. Next, the mycelium is introduced into the printed structure, and it begins to permeate the entire column over time. This results in a solid and robust structure that is ready to support the weight of a building.

But here’s where it gets even more interesting. Once the mycelium has fully colonized the column, it is ready to be harvested for mushrooms. By providing the ideal environment for mushroom growth, this building column can actually become a source of food. This integration of food production and architecture is truly groundbreaking and has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about buildings and their functionality.

Not only is the mycelium building column a sustainable and functional solution, but it also has the potential to inspire and educate. By showcasing these unique structures in public spaces, we can raise awareness about the possibilities of sustainable architecture and the importance of eco-friendly practices.

In a world where resources are becoming increasingly scarce, it is crucial that we explore and embrace alternative materials and practices that have minimal impact on the environment. The mycelium building column is a perfect example of how innovative thinking and sustainable practices can go hand in hand to create a better and more sustainable future.

So, whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply interested in sustainable living, keep an eye out for the mycelium building column. This project is just the beginning of a new era of sustainable and functional architecture. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be living and working in buildings made of mushrooms!

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