A recent research project is advancing an insulating foam for construction and shipping that is cheap, asbestos-free and manufactured without using fossil fuels.
Building regulations in the EU are increasingly demanding in terms of physical properties. This has created a need for an effective insulating material that is not manufactured from asbestos or fossil fuel derivatives.
The EU-funded AT-INSULATE project aims to develop a novel material to fulfil these requirements. The envisioned material will be light and non-flammable, offer good acoustic insulation and be produced at low cost.
Researchers have already managed to create a gypsum and sodium bicarbonate solution that rapidly produces a gypsum foam. Their method has yielded a 30 % increase in volume, even distribution of bubbles, and a foam that sets in 3 minutes.
To prevent contraction of the foam while setting, fillers and surfactant additives have also been tested. Certain types of perlite (an inert inorganic filler material) have improved the stability of the foam, and a surfactant has yielded more uniform bubble size.
AT-INSULATE has conducted various tests to characterise the new material. The findings show it has excellent strength and heat conductivity for its density, and it is completely non-combustible.
Provided by Cordis