3D printed acoustic fungus

Researchers at the German Fraunhofer Institute are investigating the use of fungus based materials for the fabrication of eco-friendly sound absorbers.

With healthy buildings becoming increasingly important, acoustics are high on the agenda. Especially in office buildings, chatter and other sounds are not only distracting and annoying, they can be the source of stress for many people. Good acoustics can help decrease the noise, but many, though not all, acoustic panels are made of mineral fibres or synthetic foam.

The Fraunhofer Institute aims to offer a more eco-friendly and more effective alternative, using fungus-based materials. The material consists of mycelium, the root system of mushrooms. The mycelium is mixed with vegetal substrate consisting of straw, wood, and waste from food production, and then printed into the desired shape using a 3D printer. The possibility to 3D print gives nearly endless design possibilities. The mycelium spreads through the substrate to create a solid structure.

Once the mycelium has permeated the substrate, the product is dried in a kiln in order to kill the fungus. The cell walls of the resulting materials are open, meaning that it will absorb sound, and is therefore ideal for soundproofing purposes.

Of course, mycelium has a lot of other (potential) uses. Click here for more mycelium-based projects.

Image: Fraunhofer UMSICHT