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Soap based thermal insulation as an environmental alternative to petroleum based thermal insulation

Read, L 2015, Soap based thermal insulation as an environmental alternative to petroleum based thermal insulation , DProf thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The aim of this doctorate is to investigate an alternative to petroleum based thermal insulations, by using natural and recycled materials. The methodology used is centered on the use of the basic ingredients of waste animal fats, waste oils and a potash derived lye mixture, combined to create a crude soap. This soap is aerated to produce a lightweight structure that is capable of preventing or reducing heat transfer between areas of differing temperatures. Experimental testing reveals that this non-toxic product can be strengthened, made waterproof, vermin proof and fire retardant, whilst the results from the thermal testing laboratory confirm that aerated soap insulation functions as a moderate performer. The step-by-step experimental methodology applied, alongside the thermal conductivity and resistance results contained within this thesis, can be used as a gauge for future potential improvements to build from. Currently there are gaps in knowledge and practice with regards to environmental thermal insulation. There are other environmental insulations, but more research needs to be initiated regarding recyclable, biodegradable, renewable and organic components and ingredients within the insulation make-up. Industry trends are to improve the better performing petroleum insulations, whilst seemingly unwilling to compromise on environmental problem relief. This doctorate provides suggestions on how to reduce some of the environmental problems by replacing or diluting the toxic elements of petroleum insulation. Soap insulation is unique and as such makes a significant contribution to knowledge. This uniqueness is evidenced through the literature review and the systematic investigation of the research topic. The awarding of a worldwide patent on soap insulation protects the manufacture of thermal insulation comprising of solid aerated soap panels, derived from animal fats and lye. This idea of combining basic soap ingredients, then aerating the mixture to create thermal insulation is new and as such contributes to new knowledge. The publishing of a journal paper titled “Can Soap be a Sustainable Alternative to Petroleum-Based Thermal Insulation?” in the journal of Structural Survey. (Read & Arayici, 2015) emphasize the contribution of this research. Read & Arayici, (2015) describes the ingredients used, the manufacturing process and the improvement measures taken to create the soap insulation. Publishing is one method of making this research known to the global community. Academics can then engage with fellow academics or collaborate with industry to further this research or to commercialise this knowledge. Aerated soap research can widen the understanding of possible new alternative thermal insulation ideas. This creates a small yet original and significant opportunity to reduce the associated carbon footprint and environmental costs accrued each time that petroleum insulation is produced.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Built Environment Sustainability and Transformation (BEST)
Funders: PWC Building Control Ltd
Depositing User: L Read
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 10:48
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2016 10:48
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/38535

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