The last phase of the SB&WRC project consists of a test phase of prototype 1 under real conditions of use. In order to undertake this test phase, a full-scale prototype first had to be produced. Prototype 1, based on corn marrow, is produced by thermocompression. The purpose of the thermocompression process is to shape a planar material under the combined action of heat and pressure.
Within laboratory conditions, the humidified corn marrow is placed inside a mould that undergoes thermocompression (figure 1). The obtained prototype is a 30cmx30cm panel.
Figure 1: Development of prototype 1 at laboratory scale
However, in order to carry out tests which are relevant to real-world usage, the insulation panels must be 1.1mx1.1m. This meant that the initial thermocompression process had to be adapted in order to produce full-scale prototypes.
For this purpose, we use a continuous heating press (Figure 2). The raw material is placed on a teflon coated moving belt. The material is first driven into a pre-heating area, at the end of which the pressing starts within a heating area for 6 minutes. The pressing continues in a cooling zone for 3 minutes.
Figure 2 : Continuous heat press
The results of these first upscaling trials are promising, as we have successfully developed 1.1mx1.1m corn marrow-based panels (Figure 3). We intend to continue our trials to optimise our formulation, by decreasing the amount of water, which is difficult to eliminate on this type of press. The panels we formulated have been sent to our colleagues, at the University of Bath, who will soon perform hygrothermal tests under real life conditions.
Figure 3: 1.1mx1.1m corn marrow-based panels
Last updated on the 15-02-2019 by Alexia ROBIN