Scientists have used mushrooms to make biodegradable computer chip parts

    Ganoderma Lucidum – or Reishi – CC 2.0.
    NIS . Mushroom Association

    The skin of the mushroom foot could potentially provide a sustainable alternative to the insulating substrates in computing chips.

    As the production of electronic devices continues to increase, scientists are finding ways to inject a bit of nature and biodegradability into common components like microchips, and believe it or not. Depending, peeling the skin off the mycelium can protect the chip from heat up to 392°F (200°C.)

    Once dry, scientists working on the project from Johannes Kepler University in Austria discovered that not only is it heat resistant, but it can last for many years and can withstand bending and folding thousands of times. no wear or tear.

    Mushrooms are especially Ganoderma, grows on rotting wood in the mountains of Europe. As it matures, it creates a fibrous sheath to protect its own substrate (in this case, wood), which if sloughed off could protect the microchips.

    The substrate underneath computer chips tends to be made of non-recyclable materials such as non-reusable plastic. The authors point out that the increase in popularity of electronic devices in modern times has not been accompanied by an increase in their lifespan and that disposing of them is much more economical for the user than replacing the components. individual parts.

    “The large number of devices being manufactured each day, along with their reduced lifespan, inevitably leads to the generation of large amounts of e-waste,” the authors write in their paper, published in the journal Nature. Science Advances.

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    “The concepts of circular economy and recycling alone cannot solve the growing waste crisis. Therefore, electronics research, and especially electronic materials research, must shift its focus from rigorous high-functional concepts to cost-effective, sustainable approaches.”

    The mycelium coat, which protects the fungus from bacterial invasion, will decompose in a regular compost pile even after being dried, in just about 10 days.

    According to the researchers, leather is slightly less insulating than plastic, but can still withstand high temperatures, even at the same thickness as paper. Furthermore, it can be grown from wood blocks that are left over from lumber production.

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    Now, the team believes their mycelium could excel in products that don’t require long-term electrical circuits such as wearable health monitors and near-field communication (NFC) tags for electronics. However, more development time and work is required.

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