Sound insulation pad and cotton are the most common sound insulation materials right now that are made with the synthetic material of cotton and plastic or minerals, though scientists have recently discovered a cheaper and more eco-friendly material, which is fungus.
Our daily lives are accompanied with noises from traffic, construction, and crowds, and these invisible pollutants have become prominent issues in the modern society, which may result in impetuousness, a reduction in sleep quality, an escalation in health risks, and even impact the natural environment and ecology, thus various soundproofing equipment has been created in order to block out noises.
Sound insulation pad, cotton, and strip, as well as double-layered glass, are available for indoor spaces, while outdoor spaces are able to utilize soundproof walls, where placing these “barriers” between the generating source and the receiver is able to reduce the sound level perceived by the receiver. The German research organization Fraunhofer Society has now discovered that the dense mycelium, which resembles wool quilts, can be used as a soundproof material for indoor spaces.
Mycelium is where fungus grows in nutrients, and is formed by multiple branches of hyphae. Research personnel has added mycelium cultivated within the laboratory to the substrates of wastes from the food industry such as straws and wood fiber, before using these mixtures as 3D printing materials to produce the required shapes. The research team pointed out that the study first allowed the hyphae to grow within a square model, and killed off the fungus using a high temperature kiln once it is formed to prevent a continuous growth, since fungus can grow up to one square kilometer.
The research team believes that the final porous structure is optimal as a soundproof material, which is not only fully formed with renewable and biodegradable materials, but is also 3D printed, and the inner structure can be optimized to enhance the ability in sound absorption.
Scientists are in the midst of seeking the structure that exerts the best sound insulation effect, though the extensive study of mycelium is not merely restricted to acoustics, but can also be used as an insulating material, artificial leather, textile, and decomposable plastic, and applied on garments, home appliances, and outer shells of electronics.
(Cover photo source: The original uploader was Lex vB at Dutch Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)