Johor, Malaysia – A team from the school of chemical and energy engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia has created a thermally stable PU foam that contains reclaimed mineral wool fibres.
Industrial mineral wool insulation is unrecyclable, posing a significant environmental problem. The scientists, led by Rohah Majid, looked at using mineral wool fibres from discarded industrial insulation systems as fillers in a palm-oil based PU foam.
Filler loadings ranged from 1% to 10% by weight. The fire retardancy, thermal stability, morphology and mechanical responses of the foam were assessed.
The group found that by incorporating the mineral wool fibres, the thermal stability of the foam was significantly improved, and there was no noticeable change in its flammability.
They noted that both cell sizes and open cell content increased as the filler content rose, and speculated that this was because the filler induced a delayed blowing reaction. An increase in fibre content gave a limited improvement in compressive properties.
The team suggested that the novel composite foam has potential in applications where moderate thermal stability and load-bearing capabilities are required.
The work has been published in the Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management.