Fungi building a strong case for fireproof cladding
Fungi could be used to fireproof buildings, after researchers found a way to grow them in thin sheets.
Scientists are chemically manipulating the composition of mycelium, a network of fungal strands that can thrive on organic waste and in darkness, to harness its fire-retardant properties.
They have found a way to grow pure and paper-thin sheets of the fungal strands, which can then be layered into a range of materials, from flat panels for the building industry, to a leather-like material for the fashion industry.
The researchers are focused on creating bio-derived, fire-retardant building cladding to avoid more incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London, which killed 72 people.
“The great thing about mycelium is that it forms a thermal protective char layer when exposed to fire or radiant heat,” RMIT University flammability and thermal properties expert Associate Professor Everson Kandare said.
“The longer and the higher temperature at which mycelium char survives, the better its use as a fireproof material.”
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