Researchers from the U.S. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed an eco-friendly, non-toxic thermoplastic foam for insulating buildings.

Unlike the rigid foam products currently used for insulating buildings that are composed of blowing agents used in the production of foam such as hydrocarbons and hydrofluoroolefins that reportedly contribute to global warming, the eco-friendly ORNL foam features no blowing agents.

Source: ORNLSource: ORNL

Instead, the ORNL foam is manufactured with hollow glass spheres and expandable polymer microspheres.

"The combination of these two sources allows us to tailor formulations to maintain the material's thermal performance across a limited range of densities," explained the ORNL researchers. "We are also working with thermoset materials, which offer high-temperature stability, for improved flame resistance."

The article, Tailorable thermoplastic insulation foam composites enabled by porous-shell hollow glass spheres and expandable thermoplastic microspheres, appears in the journal Polymer.

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