Drying of cellulose-mycelium composites

Hello!

I have been testing cellulose-based mycelium composites for my research. Using two types of cellulose, my current focus is examining compression, tensile strength and natural frequencies of the composites. For the first two experiments, the samples remained in a relatively small scale, so cultivating and drying hasn’t been difficult. However, in order to test the frequency, a really flat and long sample is needed (50x7x2 cm). Since I have already been growing composites with cellulose, I am aware that the material shrinks immensely because it can take up a lot of water and clumps during drying.

To avoid the deformation and cracking, I put the samples (with the plastic moulds!) in a drying cabinet at a very low temperature for almost a week. The samples had minimal deformation but they still cracked and now I can’t use them for the material testing.

If someone has an idea how to optimize the drying of highly deformable materials, I’m more than happy to hear some suggestions!

Thank you,

Hana

Hi Hana,
I have been doing some studies mostly on cardboard with varied results. I am just throwing out ideas, but the cracking could have to do with the processing of the substrate. are you fully colonizing, and then breaking up the (spawn) and reintroducing it to the mould? In my studies - the mycelium might be able to bond better if so. also what strain are you using? I assume a Ganoderma? something like Ganoderma Lucidum would bond differently than Ganoderma Sessile, etc.

Hi,
The spawn used here was Pleurotus ostreatus.
These samples were actually colonized at the same time as they were put in the mould - I used this method very successfully when I was using sawdust as a substrate, but since cellulose behaves differently, this might be a good idea!

I also tried this “pregrowing” technique for some other material testing and made the samples accordingly, but also other ones which I inoculated while putting the substrate in the mould. I’m testing them for compression strength for a comparison, but as you can see in the photo, the pregrown mass shrunk even more (left), so I assume the results will be higher with that sample.