A material characterization and embodied energy study of novel clay-alginate composite aerogels

Dove, C. A., Bradley, F. F. and Patwardhan, S. V. (2019) A material characterization and embodied energy study of novel clay-alginate composite aerogels. Energy and Buildings, 184, pp. 88-98. (doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.10.045)

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There is a growing incentive within the construction industry to design low energy buildings which incorporate increased levels of insulation whilst also encouraging the use of ‘green’ materials which have a low environmental impact and can contribute positively to sustainable building strategies. Silica aerogels have received an increasing amount of attention in recent years as a contemporary insulation material, but their wide-spread use is currently hindered by high costs and their high embodied energy. This research project explores the development of a composite insulation material proposed as an alternative to silica aerogel, which consists of natural components including clay and a biopolymer obtained from seaweed known as alginate. Prototype specimens have been developed and characterized in terms of their mechanical properties and microstructure allowing comparisons to be made between five alginate types, each obtained from a different seaweed source. Whilst all of the composites tested offered an improvement over the control sample, the results also demonstrated that the type of alginate used has a significant influence on the compressive strength and modulus values of the resulting composite materials. An analysis of the production process additionally demonstrated that the freeze-drying element can have a significant impact on both the environment and financial costs of producing such a material.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The author wishes to thank the funding providers for the project including the University of Strathclyde, the Energy Technology Partnership and Marine Biopolymers Ltd. Acknowledgement is also made to the Advanced Materials Research Lab and the Chemical Processing and Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde where the experimental work was conducted.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bradley, Professor Fiona
Authors: Dove, C. A., Bradley, F. F., and Patwardhan, S. V.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Energy and Buildings
ISSN (Online):1872-6178
Published Online:16 November 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Energy and Buildings 184:88-98
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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