Novel development of eco-friendly porous thermal insulation materials and the application

  • Kaibao Wang

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Inorganic thermal insulation materials, such as porous geopolymer and aerogel, have receivedunprecedented attention due to their excellent thermal insulation performance and non-burningcharacteristics. They are also more environmentally friendly compared to conventionalsynthetic insulation materials. The environmental benefit could be further enlarged whenrecycled glass fibre (rGF) is introduced in the geopolymer and aerogel system.Waste glass has been investigated extensively in the geopolymer system. However, the effectof recycled glass fibre on the thermal property of geopolymer is not commonly mentioned. Inthis thesis, the effect of rGF content on the mechanical and thermal properties of geopolymerwas examined. Results indicated that the addition of rGF in geopolymer significantly increasedthe compressive strength (92 to 165 kPa) without diminishing the thermal performance (51.1to 54.6 mW/m.K). In addition, a considerable amount of recycled glass fibres (25 g for threespecimens) was reused. This paves a promising way to maximise environmental benefits andshows great potential in the thermal insulation field.Another avenue of research in this thesis was assessing the feasibility of fabricating short rGFmats and incorporating the prepared rGF mats with aerogel since these are rarely reported. Inthis thesis, rGF was used to fabricate the glass fibre mat via wet deposition and chemicalbonding process to support the aerogel network. The mechanical and thermal performance ofthe rGF-aerogel composites was then characterised. The successfully prepared rGF matprovides a valuable reference for the preparation of recycled short fibre mats. The preparedrGF-aerogel had a low thermal conductivity (23.8 mW/m.K). Although the thermalconductivity of the rGF-aerogel is slightly higher than the prepared aerogel reinforced withthe commercial GF mat (18.3 mW/m.K), it still paves a promising way to maximiseenvironmental benefits and shows great potential in the thermal insulation field.The potential application of aerogel composites in packaging was also explored since it israrely reported. In this thesis, an optimised mathematical model was derived by incorporatingtwo mathematical models described in the literature to improve the accuracy of the calculatedresults. A number of experiments were then set up to validate the optimised model. The resultsshowed that the insulating performance of packages insulated with aerogel composites wassignificantly improved (2 times better than expanded polystyrene). This finding suggests thataerogel composites have a great potential to satisfy the requirement of temperature control forlong-haul transportation of fresh goods. The optimised model can be utilised as a cost-effectivetool for packaging design concerning passive temperature control with improved accuracy.
Date of Award31 Mar 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorLiu Yang (Supervisor) & Nicolas Kelly (Supervisor)

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