Improving Strength Properties of Paper – CEC Senior Design Project

Improving Strength Properties of Paper – CEC Senior Design Project


We’re improving the strength properties
of paper using mycelium, I’m Day Fay, I’m Chloe Hazen, I’m Colten Cowell, I’m Anna
Brandmeier, I’m Cameron Hulse, I’m Steven Grzincic, and I’m Jocky Cheng. So our project
was improving the strength properties of paper utilizing mycelium fungus. Our main objective
was to improve the strength properties of paper and it was originally presented to us
we were told to improve the properties of a paper bag but we found a few videos of mycelium
being added to various products such as this product that I’m holding, which is a packaging
product made from corn husks and mycelium. Mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus,
it is kind of the root-like structure and it happens before the mushroom occurs on the
fungus. So we chose three different types of fungus, one being reishi, the second being
pleurotus and the third being enokitake. They are all three wood-eating fungus so we hoped
they would eat the cellulose in our paper. We chose those three different fungus because
they had different growth patterns and we wanted to see how they would vary in our paper.
So in a paper machine you can either inoculate the paper after it’s already formed where
in the pulp section of the mill , we decided to inoculate pre-formed sheets as well as
mix it with pulp. So when we mixed it with pulp, we formed miniature hand sheets like
these ones here and then we tested them. Then we tested them to determine the specific strength
that we had. We found the bleached pulp had an increase in strength whereas the unbleached
pulp had a decrease in strength and we found that the unbleached pulp best sample was the
reishi mycelium where it increased the strength by 40% when compared to a sample without mycelium
so that means eventually a bag could hold 40% more materials than we were hoping compared
to a normal material. Hopefully, also thought that the material would be more water resistant
than paper because the mycelium on its own was water resistant, so hopefully those will
all be beneficial to the paper bag industry at some point in the future. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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