Building Sustainable Computer Chips Out of Mushrooms

There are 50 million tons of electronic waste produced per year, including computer chips which are made from un-recyclable plastic. Within each chip, the substrate—an insulating and cooling layer that transmits data—is the most difficult to recycle, but scientists are trying to remedy that. Martin Kaltenbrunner at Austria’s Johannes Kepler University and his colleagues built a biodegradable electronic substrate using the skin of the ganoderma lucidum mushroom. Thin, flexible, insulated and capable of withstanding over 200 degrees Celsius, the mushroom’s skin functions just as well as the standard plastic. On top of being more sustainable, this skin is also highly durable, working even after it was bent more than 2,000 times. Learn more about this innovative engineering at New Scientist.

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