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Research of Wood Waste as a Potential Filler for Loose-Fill Building Insulation: Appropriate Selection and Incorporation into Polyurethane Biocomposite Foams

Currently, the recycling potential of wood waste (WW) is still limited, and in a resource efficiency approach, recycling WW in insulation materials, such as polyurethane (PUR), appears as an appropriate solution. It is known that the quality of WW is the main aspect which influences the stability of the final products. Therefore, the current study analyses different WW-based fillers as possible modifiers for polyurethane biocomposite foams for the application as loose-fill materials in building envelopes. During the study of WW-based fillers, it was determined that the most promising filler is wood scobs (WS) with a thermal conductivity of 0.0496 W/m·K, short-term water absorption by partial immersion—12.5 kg/m2, water vapour resistance—0.34 m2·h·Pa/mg and water vapour diffusion resistance factor—2.4. In order to evaluate the WS performance as a filler in PUR biocomposite foams, different ratios of PUR binder and WS filler (PURb/WS) were selected. It was found that a 0.40 PURb/WS ratio is insufficient for the appropriate wetting of WS filler while a 0.70 PURb/WS ratio produced PUR biocomposite foams with the most suitable performance: thermal conductivity reduced from 0.0523 to 0.0476 W/m·K, water absorption—from 5.6 to 1.3 kg/m2, while the compressive strength increased from 142 to 272 kPa and the tensile strength increased from 44 to 272 kPa.

Publication date: 25/11/2020

Author: Nerijus Augaitis

Reference: doi: 10.3390/ma13235336

MDPI (materials)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement No 886416.