Engineering

Replacement for Styrofoam

Houses are packed with Styrofoam plates creating since 40 years on hazardous waste. Perhaps soon also a facade plastering in the Chinese reeds into it is stirred enough insulation. The grass has so many pores, that is an ideal insulation material.

Agricultural scientists from the Bonn University, Professor Ralf Pude and Meckenheim developer Michael Petry are currently developing the plaster with excellent insulation properties. They enrich usual facade plaster with particles of Miscanthus (Miscanthus X Giganteus).

Miscanthus has a property excellent for dam cleaning. One of its components, the so called spongy parenchyma, is extremely porous. If these are filled with air, the material acts like a highly efficient insulating material. But in normal plaster, which is mixed with water, the pores are filled with water. The insulating effect is gone.

To prevent that, the Miscanthus particles impregnated first, so how to do it around with shoes to protect them from the soaking. Then, they can be mixed with the first powdered plaster. The water with which it is mixed, can penetrate thanks to the impregnation in the pores.

Industry market as target

“Now we need to find the optimal combination of plaster and miscanthus particles,” Petry said. “This is a very sporting task.” The Targer is a plaster which can be industrially processed, sprayed onto the wall isolate. Currently, researchers are experimenting with a two centimeter strong plaster. He should have already excellent insulation effect.

Competition for legal reasons

That would be good news for old buildings. Because window insulation a thick layer of styrofoam resemble dark loopholes, decreases the incidence of light and long historical, beautiful facades in styrofoam are gone. In addition, the foamed polystyrene panels are flammable. In test, facades covered with polystyrene insulation boards, not long withstood a fire. After 15 minutes, the entire area was catch on fire.

Replacement for Styrofoam

Plasters with reeds are already in use

Already, there are plasters which are enriched with Miscanthus. However applied by hand and have not the same insulating effect, because at least some of the pores are destroyed.

“The Miscanthus plant decreases large parts of production, to us it provides a half finished product on the field,” says Padwal. The developers have registered the Miscanthus plaster some months ago to the patent. “We’re just before the breakthrough for unique high-performance insulating materials from renewable raw materials, with plants paying the required primary energy use,” says Pude. Miscanthus could help in the success of the energy revolution.

Replacement for Styrofoam-s
Cattails (Typha) is suitable as insulation material. In nature, the plant breaks down hydrocarbons and other organic pollutants.

By the way, the Asian grass that up to four meters high is fast and very well also in our latitudes, is growing. “In the winter tires off the stalks and deliver an exceptionally highly structured pore space”, so Prof. Pude. Currently, the grass is grown on 3000 acres. Too little to produce larger amounts of insulation plaster.