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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Thermal Insulation Properties of Biodegradable, Cellulosic-Based Nonwoven Composites for Automotive Application

Authors
item Yachmenev, Valeriy
item Parikh, Dharnidhar
item Calamari Jr, Timothy

Submitted to: Journal of Industrial Textiles
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2002
Publication Date: July 30, 2002
Citation: Yachmenev, V., Parikh, D.V., Calamari Jr, T.A. 2002. Thermal insulation properties of biodegradable, cellulosic-based nonwoven composites for automotive application. Journal of Industrial Textiles. 31(4):283-296.

Interpretive Summary: Annual production and sales of cars and light trucks in the US is expected to reach 15.9 million in 2001. Typically, about twenty square meters of various types of nonwovens from synthetic fibers are used in the interior and trunk of the average car. At the end of service time the non-metal components of cars usually are disposed of in waste landfills. It takes a long time for synthetic fibers to degrade, thus creating significant environmental problems. Partial replacement of synthetic fibers with cellulosics, which are abundant in supply, renewable and readily biodegradable, could dramatically enhance final biodegradability of these non-metal components while maintaining the required acoustical/ thermal insulation properties. Four distinct designs incorporating different cellulosic fibers, manufacturing techniques and various ratios of vegetable/synthetic fibers were made on laboratory-scale equipment. A steady-state Heat Flow Meter was used for evaluation of thermal conductivity and thermal transmittance of samples of composites. The results show that the thermal insulation properties of nonwoven composites vary significantly, depending on the type of the vegetable fibers, design, and resulting density of composites. These data will provide valuable information for the manufacturer to select the most suitable cellulosics for automotive moldable nonwoven materials. Groups benefiting from this development include the textile industry, industrial and academic textile scientists and the consumer of such products.

Technical Abstract: Moldable, cellulosic-based nonwoven composites with excellent thermal insulation properties were fabricated from kenaf, jute, flax, and waste cotton using recycled polyester and substandard polypropylene. The composites of these fibers have excellent shape stability and high tensile and flexural properties coupled with economic and environmental benefits. Four different designs incorporating different cellulosic fibers, manufacturing techniques and various ratios of vegetable/synthetic fibers were manufactured on laboratory-scale equipment. A Steady-State Heat Flow meter was used for measurement of thermal conductivity and thermal transmittance of samples of composites. The data show that thermal insulation properties of the cellulosic-based nonwoven composites vary significantly, depending on the type of the cellulosic fibers, the ratio of cellulosic fibers to synthetic fibers, and the resulting density of the composite.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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