Computer chips and battery bases tend to be made of non-recyclable plastics, but certain types of mushroom skins can be used instead to reduce e-waste.
November 11, 2022
Using mushroom skins as the base for computer chips and batteries makes recycling easier.
All electronic circuits composed of conductive metal must be housed in an insulating and cooling base called a substrate. In nearly all computing chips, this substrate is made of non-recyclable plastic polymers and is often discarded at the end of the chip’s lifespan. This creates 50 million tons of e-waste every year.
“The substrate itself is the most difficult to recycle,” says Martin Kaltenbrunner of Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Germany. “It’s also the largest piece of electronics and the least valuable, so if it’s actually loaded with certain chips of high value, it’s a good idea to recycle them.”
Kaltenbrunner and his colleagues experimented with mushroom skins Ganoderma Lucidum Acts as a biodegradable electronic substrate.
Fungi that normally grow on decaying wood form a skin to protect the mycelium, the root-like part of the fungus, from foreign bacteria and other fungi. The skin did not grow on other fungi the researchers tested. F) found to be able to withstand greater temperatures and have a thickness similar to that of a sheet of paper. circuit board.
Kaltenbrunner said skin could probably last for hundreds of years if kept away from moisture and UV light. Importantly, it breaks down in the soil in about two weeks, making it easy to recycle.
Kaltenbrunner and his team built metallic circuits on mycelium skin and showed that they function in much the same way as standard plastic polymers. The board has remained effective even after he has flexed it more than 2000 times, and researchers have demonstrated that he can even work with basic batteries for low-power devices like Bluetooth sensors.
The researchers hope the mushroom substrates will find use in electronics that aren’t designed to last long, such as wearable sensors and wireless tags. must indicate that
Andrew Adamatzky, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, said: Combining dead mycelium skin with patches of living fungal material being developed for use as sensory skin in adaptive buildings and robots could aid in the development of wearable fungal devices. he says.
Journal reference: scientific progressDOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add7118
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