Researchers at Graz University of Technology have joined forces with Italian 3D printer manufacturer WASP to develop a new composite material for 3D printing. MyCera consists of a mixture of clay, sawdust and mushroom threads. The latter serve as intelligent fiber reinforcement.
As reported by the Shape Lab at TU Graz, using a WASP Delta 40100 clay 3D printer, the addition of mycelium, the vegetative component of fungi, significantly increased the tensile strength of 3D-printed clay structures. The fungal filaments penetrate the material and form a type of reinforcement.
WASP’s large-format printer enables the printing of paste-like materials such as MyCera in this process. In various studies, the team was able to demonstrate the reinforcing effect of the mycelium.
In addition, the fungal mesh acts as a kind of bio-glue that bonds various 3D-printed clay parts together. According to the researchers, MyCera could thus represent a sustainable building material of the future and replace concrete as a binder.
Through collaboration with WASP, MyCera has been successfully adapted for 3D printing. Further studies will now investigate MyCera’s potential as a biodegradable composite material in more detail. The results give the scientists reason to be optimistic that it will enable more resource-efficient construction methods in the future.