Fabrication of Living Entangled Network Composites Enabled by Mycelium

Hao Wang, Jie Tao*, Zhangyu Wu, Kathrin Weiland, Zuankai Wang*, Kunal Masania*, Bin Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Organic polymer-based composite materials with favorable mechanical performance and functionalities are keystones to various modern industries; however, the environmental pollution stemming from their processing poses a great challenge. In this study, by finding an autonomous phase separating ability of fungal mycelium, a new material fabrication approach is introduced that leverages such biological metabolism-driven, mycelial growth-induced phase separation to bypass high-energy cost and labor-intensive synthetic methods. The resulting self-regenerative composites, featuring an entangled network structure of mycelium and assembled organic polymers, exhibit remarkable self-healing properties, being capable of reversing complete separation and restoring ≈90% of the original strength. These composites further show exceptional mechanical strength, with a high specific strength of 8.15 MPa g.cm−3, and low water absorption properties (≈33% after 15 days of immersion). This approach spearheads the development of state-of-the-art living composites, which directly utilize bioactive materials to “self-grow” into materials endowed with exceptional mechanical and functional properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2309370
JournalAdvanced Science
Volume11
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • living composites
  • mechanical properties
  • mycelium
  • phase separation

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