Demand for improved insulation materials spawns new collaboration

Jan 14, 2014
Demand for improved insulation materials spawns new collaboration

Better insulation materials are a money and energy saver for all. A new collaborative project is set to address the need, and involves ROCKWOOL International A/S, a major producer of insulation materials, and the University of Copenhagen's Nano-Science Center. The partners will study insulation materials at the atomic level and devise solutions for a major climate challenge. The project is supported by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation.

A great deal of global energy usage stems from maintaining warmth in buildings when it is cold outside, and keeping them cool when it's hot. Our ability to insulate buildings and develop better insulation materials is an important part of reducing global energy use.

Insulation materials produced by ROCKWOOL International A/S are made of mineral wool and used to insulate buildings and industrial facilities around the world. Eventually, these materials break down. In our part of the world, buildings are designed to have a lifespan of 50, 100 or more years. Accordingly, building materials are often thicker, heavier and more resource intensive than necessary to extend the life of structures.

In a new collaborative project between the University of Copenhagen's Nano-Science Center and ROCKWOOL International A/S, researchers will conduct an in-depth investigation of this resource and energy challenge.

"We know that heat and humidity influence the breakdown of insulation materials, but we don't know why. Using nanotechnology, we will look at and measure the fibres and glues found in these materials at the . The new data will be an important contribution to the improvement and development of new insulation products," according to Denis Okhrimenko of the University of Copenhagen, an industrial postdoc who, together with the Department of Chemistry's Klaus Bechgaard, will work on the project in the coming years.

Increased demand for new materials

The demand for sustainable building materials is on the rise around the world and satisfying this demand can reduce energy use, which is a major reason for ROCKWOOL's involvement.

"ROCKWOOL International A/S doesn't just want to improve insulation materials in the construction industry. We want to develop insulation materials that are adopted in everyday building. We believe that nanotechnology can be a key to developing stable and sustainable insulation materials, and have therefore entered into this venture with the Nano-Science Center," says Dorthe Lybye, Programme Manager at ROCKWOOL International A/S.

The development of and understanding of what is happening when insulation materials are subjected to heat and humidity requires that researchers have a thorough understanding of the properties and composition of insulation materials.

The knowledge will be accumulated and investigated by the NanoGeoScience group at UCPH's Department of Chemistry. The group consists of researchers who are skilled with nanotech instruments; chemists who are knowledgeable about the glue in materials; geologists, who know about the mineral wool; and physicists, who understand the relationships between these materials.

"We are pleased that the group will contribute to the solution of some of the energy-related challenges that society faces," says Professor Susan Stipp, head of the NanoGeoScience group at the Nano-Science Center.

Explore further: Second life for waste paper in the construction industry

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Electricity from waste heat with more efficient materials

Dec 05, 2013

Thermoelectric materials can convert waste heat directly into electricity. Tommi Tynell, M.Sc., who is a doctoral candidate at the Aalto University School of Chemical Technology, has developed hybrid thermoelectric materials ...

Study: New nanomanufacturing processes needed

Dec 04, 2013

If the promise of nanotechnology is to be fulfilled, then research programs must leapfrog to new nanomanufacturing processes. That's the conclusion of a review of the current state of nanoscience and nanotechnology to be ...

Toward greener, more energy-efficient buildings

Nov 17, 2008

In the face of growing environmental concerns and a renewed interest in energy efficiency, the construction of homes and businesses that emphasize "green" construction materials is on the rise, according to an article scheduled ...

Small fire at Japan nuclear lab; no radiation leak

Dec 20, 2011

A building housing an experimental nuclear reactor in Japan caught fire Tuesday, but there was no leak of radioactive materials, officials said, amid nervousness over Japan's atomic industry.

Recommended for you

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...