A heat press and reinforcement study

General background:

In order to decrease the environmental impact caused by the construction sector, biobased materials need to be further developed to allow better integration and acceptance in the market. Mycelium composites are innovative products, with intrinsic properties which rise the attention of architects, designers and industrial companies. Mycelium is the ‘root network’ of mushrooms, which acts as a natural glue to bind biomass. Mycelium grows through the biomass, which functions as a growth substrate and a biocomposite matrix. Different organic residual streams such as straw, hemp shives or other agricultural waste can be used as substrate. Mycelium composites can be divided into board and foam materials, both of which have the potential to substitute conventional toxic materials, i.e. medium density fireboard (MDF). The mechanical properties of these products are influenced by their production process. For example, bending and tensile strengths have shown to be higher in heat pressed samples (F. V.W. Appels, 2019). The heat press process related to mycelium boards, needs further development in terms of process timing and of parameters, as temperature, pressure and duration of pressing.

Assignment description

As an intern at the Centre of Expertise BioBased Economy (CoEBBE) you would be responsible in carrying out experiments relating to the heat process to achieve stronger mycelium boards. You will be looking into the parameters of temperature, pressure and time and the most optimal combination to achieve a stronger material. Your project will be based on the following activities:

– mycelium growth (with care to the right balance between fibres and water content and temperature for the organism)

– samples production with the grown mycelium

– heat press (looking at different temperature, pressure and time)

– testing of the produced materials (bending test and tensile test)

Starting date

September 2020. The length of the assignment is 5 months. The student who will execute the assignment gets a a fee of €350,- per month.

Desirable skills/qualities of the student

The student should be able to work independently and carry out independent laboratory research. Background in environmental sciences, microbiology, mechanical engineering and product design are preferable. HBO or university students are preferred.

Contact person concerning this assignment : Ilaria La Bianca
logo-coebbePhone : +316 12076718
E-mail : i.labianca1@avans.nl

Visiting address : AKV st. Joost – Kunst Academy
Street / number, areal code and place : parallelweg 21-23, s’Hertogenbosch
Postal address : 5223 AL

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