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Richa Saini

Transforming waste into circular materials: Can biofabrication be the solution? The project addresses the shift towards sustainable practices through the process of bio-fabrication with living material (mycelium).

In response to the detrimental environmental impact associated with resource extraction and material disposal, multiple industries have embarked on a paradigm shift towards closed-loop and bio-based approaches.

This project harnesses the potential of mycelium as a sustainable alternative to conventional materials across various sectors. The project confronts the pressing environmental challenges tied to resource extraction and waste disposal, thereby contributing to the promotion of a more sustainable and circular economy.

Mycelium composite samples were created from a range of substrate materials sourced from industrial waste streams. These were meticulously crafted using a biofabrication process that adopts a material-driven design approach. The project focuses on growing mycelium on organic substrates to form a lightweight composite characterized by a three-dimensional interconnected network of reinforcement fibres. Subsequently, the mycelium fully colonizes the material and undergoes a heat treatment process which  renders the material inert while facilitating the evaporation of residual moisture.

The primary aim of this project was to exemplify the material exploration process, with the ultimate goal of developing a composite material with superior acoustic properties. This involved experimenting with diverse waste stream materials such as wool, cotton, sawdust, and others.

Designers will be able to demonstrate the potential of mycelium-based composites as a sustainable and versatile solution, while also contributing to the broader understanding of Biodesign applications in addressing environmental challenges. mycoSonic presents an innovative solution for acoustical designs.

“Let's pause, rethink, and leverage what already exists (waste) rather than constantly pursuing new creations.”

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