Within the research project we developed a wood-mycelium composite construction method for CO2-neutral, circular interior fittings for office spaces to upgrade existing buildings. Based on the potential of fungal mycelium, as a rapidly renewable, regenerative, affordable low-carbon building material, bio-composite construction methods for interior applications were explored in conjunction with additive wood-based manufacturing processes. As unreinforced mycelium based composites (MBC) in general have excellent sound-absorbing properties but low load-bearing capacity, a composite construction of wood veneer and mycelium was the focus of research as a viable technology for the future.
An automated glueless process was being developed for the efficient creation of 3D lattice structures from indigenous maple wood, which serve as reinforcement and moulding scaffolds for biogrowth. The composite material produced in this way was characterised by a series of tests with regard to mechanical load-bearing capacity and room acoustics. The tests validate the applicability of the composites to architectural scale and provide initial insights into the behavior of large-scale MBC components.
Computer-aided simulation methods were used to develop approaches for static calculation. Possible value chains for the implementation of a circular economy were conceptualised and a detailed analysis of the entire production cycle of one of the final demonstrators demonstrated the inherent sustainability of the current process compared to existing commercial solutions for partition walls.
While further research is required for the integration of MBC in construction, the strategies presented within this project provide a broad design catalogue for the production of sustainable, large-scale architectural elements using mycelium-based composites.
To achieve these goals, a project consortium with different specialisations from the University of Kassel (Prof. Eversmann), KIT (Prof. Hebel) and ARUP (Dr.-Ing. Jan Wurm) was formed. This ideally combined the expertise and research findings on additive manufacturing technology, biogrowth technologies and integrated design and engineering that were necessary and connectable for this project.
There will be a follow-up project called HOME 2.0 that will be implemented over the period 2023-2025