It seems that all of my recent problems have been solved by mushrooms. In hindsight that seems kind of obvious to me, but only because I have heard, over and over, how incredible they are. There was a group of students that were researching mushrooms and they toted the wonders of them endlessly. I thought thy were interesting, but also that my research was headed in a different direction. A direction which turned so fast if I was in a car I would have lost traction on the road.
So here's what happened.
My problems regarding the material used was solved by introducing the main ingredient that mushrooms use to build their walls. I saw that it was used as a primary ingredient in so many bio-based materials (based on research papers and not industry practice) that I decided to introduce it into the matrix of my little guy. My original mixture wouldn't hold shape, much to my frustration. It turns out that running experiments is not so much trying things out and seeing how it works but trying to achieve a very specific reaction and changing variables an increment at a time until you reach it all the while hoping and praying that you not only achieve the desired result but that your record keeping will accurately yield the same results in the future and that it wasn't because of a high humid day or that you forgot to check it for an extra hour or something like that...
Fun Mushroom Fact #1: Some mushrooms use chitin as well as cellulose to build their structures? Chitin is used by shelled crustaceans and insects while cellulose is used by plants, so the mushroom is using two of the world's most abundant resources to build itself. Does that mean that if the world fell to a construction contest these guys would win? Is this still even a mushroom fact? Who knows!
I also needed a whole list of enzymes to incorporate into the machine too and was trying to find an inexpensive source for them. Which I did; in a variety of mushrooms! Ok, it's not all from mushrooms and honestly many of the key ingredients aren't from them, but the ones that are from mushrooms are cheap and effective! So score!
Fun Mushroom Fact #2: Mushrooms can digest nearly anything, with the exception of crude fossil fuels (as far as I know). There's a company that's using mushrooms to break down plastic (not all plastic but like, a lot of it) and another that's using mushrooms to break down old paper waste. There's one company that's using mushrooms to build bricks for housing. No, seriously. It seems there's nothing these little guys can't do! Except help me cope with the overwhelming evil of the world, the bone-deep corruption, the malice that spreads into every fiber of modern life like a cancerous growth... because God knows I need help with that. But they can do pretty much everything else, so they're neat-o in my book!
I also needed a way to break down the plastics and cardboard I had been hoarding. Know what the solution was? That's right! Mushrooms! I'm also using UV light to degrade the plastic. I'm using physical degradation to help out with the cardboard.
Fun Mushroom Fact #3: Mushrooms and trees communicate with each other? By growing around the roots of trees they send chemical signals back and forth, aiding each other and directing growth. Mushrooms further aid in the survival of trees by aerating the soil and decomposing any rotting growth, like maggots are used in medicine. Should we call them plant maggots now? Probably.
Now I can officially say that the entire base design, everything I need to make a complete and accurate blueprint not only for engineers but also chemists, is complete!!
This is basically me right now.