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Evaluation of Physico-Mechanical Properties of Mycelium Reinforced Green Biocomposites Made from Cellulosic Fibers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 32(6): 931-938. (doi: 10.13031/aea.32.11830) @2016
Authors:   Alexander R Ziegler, Sreekala G Bajwa, Greg A Holt, Gavin McIntyre, Dilpreet S Bajwa
Keywords:   Biocomposite, Biodegradable, Biomaterial, Cellulosic, Mechanical properties, Mycelium, Physical properties.


Biodegradable and sustainable feedstocks are increasingly replacing petroleum-based materials commonly used for single- or multi-use packaging applications. A study was conducted to evaluate the potential of an innovative biocomposite material patented by Ecovative Design LLC (Green Island, N.Y.) for use in commercial products and packaging. The biocomposite material utilizes the fungus mycelium as a matrix to bind cellulosic plant fibers. The test samples were manufactured with different fiber-fungal strain combinations, using cotton ginning waste and hemp pith as core material and fiber fabric on the surface. The physico-mechanical properties of the biocomposites were evaluated to develop a thorough understanding of the material which may lead to future applications. The properties evaluated included specific gravity, surface hardness, water absorption, coefficient of linear thermal expansion, and resistance to tension and compression stress. The density profile results indicated that the material is extremely light, buoyant, and highly hydrophilic. Surface hardness test showed that the material has a soft outer surface with high elasticity. The tensile and compression properties showed the material can be used in targeted packaging applications where lightweight, resiliency, and biodegradability are desirable.

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