Fungal bricks are a sturdier, more sustainable option for building homes.
A new building material discovered by Phil Ross could provide homes that are sturdy, resilient and sustainable. Vice reports that it would have the ability to withstand extreme temperature and is even bulletproof. And, when it is no longer in use, it can easily be composted. There's just one issue Ross' discovery may pose — who wants to live in a house made of fungus?
The house, called Mycotectural Alpha, is a teahouse made with fungal bricks. The bricks are so strong, they broke almost all of Ross' woodworking tools.
Ross is a professor at the University of San Francisco and cofounded the startup MycoWorks. He has filed a patent for the fungal bricks.
Building a fungal brick is actually quite simple. All you need is some organic matter like sawdust, and a small piece of mushroom. The fungus will begin to consume the nutrients in the sawdust, which will cause the fine threads of its mycelium wind to form into a solid block of cells. These cells can be formed into any shape as long as they stay alive.
When two fungal bricks are placed next to each other they will fuse together within hours to form an unbreakable bond. Builders then cure the material to stop its growth, which results in a bulletproof slab of mushroom.
"We can build a house right now. We know how to build the structures and forms to do it. We can plan, from what we know about the material, and make engineering drawings based on its physical qualities," Ross said.
Before fungal bricks can receive recognition in the building industry, Ross will have to put the material through comprehensive testing to better understand how it reacts to different weather conditions.
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