Aleksi Vesaluoma, a student at Brunel University (London), together with the architecture firm Astudio, have developed a building material for the future, dubbed "mushroom sausage." It consists of lightweight, biodegradable structures that can also be eaten.
The idea of constructing buildings from plant-based mushroom material may seem utopian. But this is only at first glance. In fact, this material has many advantages: it is very light, does not require baking in an oven, and has a unique ability to self-assemble.
The structures in question are grown by mixing oyster mushroom mycelium with wet cardboard. The mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus (mycelium), consisting of the finest fibrous filaments that permeate the space around it. It is from them that the body of the mushroom consists. The mushrooms themselves that we see are just a tiny "tip of the iceberg".
In this case, cardboard is food for the mycelium. In the process of assimilation, the cardboard turns into small particles. The resulting sticky plastic mass can then be shaped into various shapes, in particular the shape of a sausage. The structure takes four weeks to form, gradually thickening and increasing its weight.
Alexi Vesaluoma does not provide data on the reliability of the structure of mushroom sausages. However, an experiment with bricks created using a similar "mushroom" technology has shown that they can withstand the weight of 50 cars.
The main advantage of Vesaluoma's unusual material is that the mushrooms do not die during the assembly of the structure. They continue to grow, and the owner of such a building can regularly harvest. The inventor believes that this can come in handy for restaurants or temporary structures.