Cellulose Based Eco-foam

P. Wang, X. Zhang
Washington State University,
United States

Keywords: composite, cellulose, foam

Summary:

Petroleum-based insulation materials like Styrofoam, depend on global resources, have high transportation costs associated with manufacturing, and are habitually non-biodegradable/recyclable. During foam fabrication, the use of harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process chemistry has caused direct acute toxicity to the workers as well as harmful impacts to the environment. With a global shift from reusable to single use containers, the plastics market currently accounts for over 275 million metric tons of waste, of which an estimated 8 million accumulate annually in the oceans. These issues have led to a heightened demand for more environmentally friendly materials and processes for insulation and packaging applications, driven by eco-conscious consumers and increased global regulations against petroleum-based plastics. This brands bio-based insulation materials a viable alternative in the global market. Cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer on earth, having an estimated annual production of 7.5×1010 tons. Cellulose-based foams are a greener replacement opportunity over traditional synthetic insulation materials. The use of cellulose-based foams to polystyrene foam products has shown a promising potential. The physical properties of an eco-foam product produced from cellulose will be presented.