Mycelium-Based Sound Insulation from the 3D Printer
When it comes to improving spatial acoustics, we generally rely on polyester foams or composite materials based on mineral fibres. Within the framework of the FungiFacturing project, a team from the Fraunhofer Institute Umsicht in Oberhausen are researching how fungus mycelium can be transformed into a sound absorber. They are testing various species of fungus and examining the optimal substrate composition and use of additives for generative manufacturing.
From Mycelium to Sound Absorber
3D printing would make it possible to create absorbers that could be individually adapted to the design of any given space. On the other hand, the dimensions depend on the 3D printer. According to the team at Fraunhofer Umsicht, the largest possible size is currently around 35 x 40 cm. However, larger printers would allow larger absorber sizes for future applications. The modular absorber elements are conceived for interior use: they can be hung from walls and ceilings. The project is also testing a variety of fixing possibilities.
Workshops for Architects
Julia Krayer, a bio-designer and specialist project leader with Fraunhofer Umsicht, states that the insulative value of the fungus-based material amounts to that of “an ordinary sound absorber”. In order to promote timely dialogues with potential users and involve them in the design process right from the preliminary stage, workshops have been planned to present the material and its characteristics. These workshops are aimed particularly at architects, interior designers, spatial planners and purveyors of acoustic products.
The project was initiated in 2016 and is expected to continue until summer 2021. Since 2019, it has been supported by the Fachagentur für nachwachsende Rohstoffe [Eng.: Specialist Agency for Renewable Resources], a project sponsor of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.