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The four-year OSIRYS project is developing natural fibre-based composites for façades and interior partitions that will improve indoor air quality in both new builds and restoration projects.
Indoor air quality and emissions from building materials are a major challenge, says Inmaculada Roig Asensi, head of the Composites Department of Spanish research organisation AIMPLAS, a partner in the project.
There is currently a growing trend of replacing traditional construction materials, which contribute to contaminants such as VOCs, formaldehyde, particulates and brick fibres, with multilayer façades offering several advantages.
In addition to environmental benefits, many new building envelope improvements result in lower energy bills, as well as improved thermal comfort and moisture and noise control.
Previous studies have shown that biocomposites offer a sustainable alternative to traditional polymers and composites. Their advantages include, low fibre density, recycabilit and lower energy consumption in their production.
Within the OSIRYS project, new pultrusion biocomposite profiles have been obtained to replace typical light gauge steel products. These profiles can also be used to finish existing masonry partition walls, cladding mechanical and extraction shafts and column cladding. The profiles have been designed to be processed from a bio-based epoxy resin and using flax and glass fibres as reinforcements. They have been integrated into a modular multi-layer envelope.
The emission of the VOCs is being evaluated according to the German evaluation scheme AgBB: Health-related evaluation of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC and SVOC) from building products.
Indoor ozone may react on the surfaces of a material and can lead to elevated concentrations of oxidized products. The new material provides an opportunity for passive reduction of indoor ozone. Ozone deposition velocity describes a materials’s ability to destroy ozone. Resistance to microbiological activity is also being tested in another experimental set-up.
A homogeneous curing, minimised residence time and processing temperature are required to improve formulations with bioepoxy and natural fibres. For this, specific characteristics of the new bioresins have been assessed in respect of:
Evaluation of curing cycle of selected bioepoxy, taking into account requirements in terms of temperature for the processing of natural fibers at 160ºC).
Different trials of pultrusion with glass, flax and hybrid (glass and flax) fibres have been carried out with standard polyester resin and bioepoxy resin in order to optimise processability.