ANTEC 2024

March 4-7, 2024

Dr. Yanika Schneider will be presenting Characterization of Mycelium Biocomposites Under Simulated Weathering Conditions at ANTEC 2024 in St. Louis, MO. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, March 6th at 1:30 pm. Add the presentation to your schedule. We hope to see you there!

ANTEC 2024
Dr. Yanika Schneider

Expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as Styrofoam, has been utilized for various packaging and shipping applications despite being notoriously difficult to recycle resulting in microplastics and other environmental concerns. Research efforts have focused on evaluating mycelium-based materials for packaging applications due to their unique mechanical properties and biodegradability. Mycelium is the root system of fungi and composed of natural polymers including cellulose, protein, lignin and chitin; it typically grows on a substrate made of agricultural waste products or dead organic materials. To replace EPS, mycelium biocomposites must be robust to various weather environments. As a natural biocomposite, this material is known to be affected by the environment and thus it is critical to understand how temperature and humidity affect its properties.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of various real-world environmental conditions on the properties of a commercially available mycelium biocomposite. Extreme conditions such as freezing temperatures, high heat and high humidity were examined. Unlike previous studies, we focus on both the mechanical properties as determined by hardness and impact testing as well as chemical, thermal and morphological characteristics to provide a complete picture of the transformation in the biocomposite. These results can help further our understanding of natural biocomposites as environmentally-friendly replacements for EPS and other synthetic plastics for a broad range of applications.

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