Researchers Develop Viable, Environmentally-Friendly Alternative into Styrofoamecnmag #Environmentally_FriendlyMay 14, 2019
Washington State University researchers have developed an environmentally-friendly, plant-based material that for the first time works better than Styrofoam for insulation.
Researchers have been working to develop an environmentally friendly replacement for polystyrene foam, or Styrofoam.
But, it is made from toxic ingredients, depends on petroleum, doesn’t degrade naturally, and creates pollution when it burns.
To make cellulose nanocrystals, researchers use acid hydrolysis, in which acid is used to cleave chemical bonds.
For the first time, the researchers report, the plant-based material surpassed the insulation capabilities of Styrofoam.
It degrades well, and burning it doesn’t produce polluting ash.
“We have used an easy method to make high-performance, composite foams based on nanocrystalline cellulose with an excellent combination of thermal insulation capability and mechanical properties,” Ameli said.
“Our results demonstrate the potential of renewable materials, such as nanocellulose, for high-performance thermal insulation materials that can contribute to energy savings, less usage of petroleum-based materials, and reduction of adverse environmental impacts.”