Australian company MycelioTronics is solving the electronics waste problem with a creative biomaterials approach. Replaces the usual layering components of the PCB with a fungal-mycelium skinExtracted from the mushroom reishi mushroom, this mycelium skin has been shown to develop PCB-like properties (such as heat resistance, flexibility and insulating properties), but its biological origins It makes the disassembly and recycling process much easier.
There are many sustainability initiatives taking place in the electronics industry. This is especially true for PCBs that use rare minerals (such as copper and gold), epoxy resins, and chemical elements. It is so intricately connected, wired and sandwiched that recycling efforts are very difficult. Recycling usually leads to the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and can separate some of the constituent materials.
Dr. Martin Kaltenbrunner says, “Electronics are irrevocably integrated into our lives.” “But their limited lifespan and often improvised disposal require sustainable concepts to realize a green electronic future. Research is focused on the biodegradation or easy recycling of electronic devices. We must shift our focus to replacing non-degradable and difficult-to-recycle materials to enable
Of course, there are also issues of planned obsolescence and manufacturing practices that make these processes even more difficult. These in turn spawned movements like Right to Repair, and even forced Apple to adopt the USB standard in future iPhones (the fewer cables, the less obsolete). ). One way companies and researchers are looking to reduce the electronics industry’s overall footprint is to find alternatives to biomaterials that reduce this environmental cost without impeding the pace of innovation. is.
Mycelium skin present in Ganoderma lucidum is one such material, according to researchers. It is thin and flexible while maintaining strong structural integrity. It was able to withstand about 2000 bending cycles. It exhibits only moderate resistance when folded. Isolate the current. Also, best he can withstand temperatures reaching 250 degrees Celsius, higher than the PCB assembly (which is usually rated up to 150 degrees Celsius). This heat resistance makes mycelium skins an attractive proposition for actually embedding components (such as CPUs) by conventional soldering. Interestingly, the older the mycelium skin, the higher its upper thermal limit.
So all the features of PCB replacement are there. As an added bonus, mycelium-based his PCBs like these are likely to biodegrade after each shelf life. All you need is water (something that modern electronics don’t need anyway) or UV lighting. Without these two elements, his mycelium-based PCBs could survive for hundreds of years, scientists say.
Of course, mycelium skin does not act as a PCB by itself. Its properties are those of an insulator, so to make a biomaterial PCB, we need to add conductivity. So researchers applied copper, chromium, and even gold coatings (a process known as physical vapor deposition). [PVD]) to a mycelial skin that adds the necessary electrical conductivity properties. The newly formed material was then laser ablated (similar to a typical PCB) to remove excess minerals, leaving conductive lanes that carry electrical signals throughout.
Mycelium networks (also called mycorrhizal networks) are some of nature’s most interesting structures, allowing true networks of fungi, plants, and trees to “communicate” through the movement of water, nitrogen, carbon, and other minerals. ” allows you to . Through this network, trees Equivalent to distributed systems in feedback loops, sharing resources with each otherYou may be surprised to learn that this network covers most of the world’s land mass.