End of experiments and final results of making flexible mycelium


#1

Hi, my experiments in trying t make flexible mycelium have come to an end so here are the results.

But first, after the batches have grown to a size I thought were adequate i cut them in half so I doubled the amount of sheets to work with.
I let a part of them grow further but upside down because the mycelium didn’t grow down due to the sheets being half submerged in the liquid.

Here are the sheets after I threw the liquid away.

I then cut them all in half so each variant could have a piece grow further and a piece dried.
I added glycerol to the soon to be dried pieces. they were left to soak in the glycerol for about 48 hours.

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When dried I put them in the oven at 120° for about 4 hours. I clamped them between 2 bricks to help push out the liquids.

The pieces are very thin and the ones with the jute mesh completely separated or lost a few layers.
The pure mycelium is flexible but is also very weak and thin. I guess that’s due to too high clamping force.
These are pretty promising results and I’m hoping the others are better.

The remaining sheets were left growing for about a week. This time not in a liquid anymore.

As you can see the mycelium grew through the jute this time. Time to dry them!
Again first some glycerol and soak for 48 hours.


I’ve put 3 pieces between 2 bricks for a light clamping and the others on the rack.
Again baking for 4 hours at 120°. This time the results were a bit better. The mycelium was a bit stronger and less thin. The sheets on the racks shriveled a bit while the others stayed straight.
the tensile strength is a bit better and there is no separation between layers anymore.
but when I try to bend the sheets the top layer of mycelium tears, the pure mycelium is very flexible at its thinnest but is prone to tearing at its thicker parts.

So in conclusion I think the mycelium can be very flexible but not stretched at least in my case. Its a very interesting material with a lot of capabilities and I’m sure to do some more experimenting during the summer.


#2

Thanks for sharing all these pictures :slight_smile: I was a bit surprised reading you bake them at 120°C for 4 hours plus pressing them. It seems a harsh drying process compared to standard processes (eg. air drying kombucha leather or 60-80°C for mycomaterial bricks)

What was your reasoning behind trying it this way?


#3

Hi, I tried it at 80 degrees at first but after several hours without much result I opted for a higher temperature. Even then the sheets weren’t a 100 percent dry.


#4

Hmmm, was there enough ventilation? Or did you oven/device quickly get vapor condensing on its surface, making it a less-than-optimal drying environment?