Elucidating composition–structure–property relationships in fibre foams

The proposed research aims to develop novel wood foams to be used for thermal insulation in buildings and houses. The wood foam will be designed to replace plastic foams, which are linked to environmental and health concerns. The wood foams will be prepared from unwanted forest residues (beetle killed wood) and green additives to impart strength and flame retardancy. Wet foams will be prepared with several water-based compositions and then oven dried to make porous hard sponge-like materials. Properties linked to foam processability (viscosity and stability) will be evaluate to design new industrial routes. The mechanical, thermal, and flame-retardant performance of the dry solid fibre foams will be characterized. Additionally, the foams will be re-dispersed in water and re-foamed to evaluate their recyclability. In addition to applications in thermal insulation, wood foams may also be suitable for sound absorption (acoustic comfort), transportation paneling, furniture, separation technologies, and packaging. This research will have social, economic and environmental benefits to Canada, particularly in the construction sector by innovating low cost, scalable and green insulative products.

Elisa Silva Ferreira
Faculty Supervisor: 
Emily Cranston
British Columbia
Partner University: