An Innovative Foam Insulation Produced from Cellulose

Apr 02, 2012

Cellulose foam is made from paper pellets and polypropylene by foaming with steam in Korea and Japan. Cellulose foam board is an environmentally-friendly insulation because gases such as pentane or HCFC are not used in the manufacturing process. This paper introduces the manufacturing process for Cellulose Foam Board and its physical properties including environmental considerations. The various applications of Cellulose Foam Board will be discussed.

Cellulose foam insulation is composed primarily of cellulose and starch. Cellulose is extracted from recycled wastepaper and plant materials such as beans and corn are used for starch. Cellulose foam insulation does not contain a gas other that air or steam. The product is made by a water-vapor expansion method. Therefore, there is no global warming gas emitted during the production process and the insulation material naturally decomposes when discarded. Being environmentally friendly from the manufacturing process to the end of its useful life is an important strength of cellulose foam insulation (Cellulose Board Insulation).

The expanded foam has a fiber with perpendicular orientation and a majority of the cells in the product are closed. The low solubility of water in the closed-cell foam provides a water vapor transmission rate around 0.07 g/m3∙hr∙mmHg. Cellulose foam insulation has a density of 20 to 35 kg/m3 and an apparent thermal conductivity of 0.034 to 0.038 W/m·K. The product does not contain harmful substances such as formaldehyde or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The performance of the foamed cellulose product is similar to that of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in terms of tensile strength, compressive strength, and water absorption. The major benefit of cellulose foam insulation is the use of recycled paper as a primary raw material

Jae-Sik Kang (Korea Institute of Construction Technology)
Gyeong-Seok Cho (Korea Institute of Construction Technology)
Young-Cheol Kwon (Halla University)
Presented at: 
Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST3) Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Korea Institute of Construction Technology
Building Enclosure Technology & Environment Council (National Institute of Building Sciences)

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