Fungal Foundations and Futuristic Finishes
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The current dominant economic development model, “take, make and dispose”, is not only jeopardizing the economic stability, but also the integrity of the natural ecosystems upon which humans depend for survival. There has long been a demand to put strategies for sustainable development into action as resources are being depleted. The production of synthetic materials depends heavily on nonrenewable resources such as petroleum and handling these materials at the end of their life cycle poses more waste issues every day. Reducing resource use and lowering the ecological footprint is therefore a must and the paradigm shift to a circular economy needs to be made. Mycelium materials contribute significantly to this paradigm shift as they obtain traits that make them practicable alternatives to many synthetic materials in both economic and environmental fields. They can even be used in construction work. The idea of using mycelium materials for temporary structures is being explored by various artists and designers. To protect the mycelium materials used in construction from decay, protective coatings are needed, especially with the outlook on long-term use. As most synthetic polymers rely on nonrenewable resources and are not sustainable, a variety of bio-based polymers was looked into in this research. As all of the assessed bio-based polymers have desirable properties, their drawbacks and possible solutions have also been discussed.