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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #174608

Title: Cellulose Based Nonwoven Insulation Composites

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

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2005
Publication Date: 6/15/2005
Citation: Yachmenev, V., Negelescu, I., Yan, C., Calamari Jr, T.A., Parikh, D.V. 2005. Cellulose Based Nonwoven Insulation Composites. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 2741.

Interpretive Summary: The market for automotive nonwovens in the USA is the largest in the world (~16 million new cars per year). Typically, about twenty square meters of nonwovens are used in the interior and trunk of the average car. Currently, automotive nonwovens are made from synthetic, petro-based polymer materials that are not biodegradable, thus creating significant environmental problems. Natural cellulosic-based fibers combined with recycled thermoplastic synthetic fibers or with another suitable binding material such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and Eastar Biocopolymer (EBC) could be fitting starting materials for development of low cost biodegradable nonwoven composites for automotive interiors. Three different sets of nonwoven composites 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 (FOX 200) was used for evaluation of thermal conductivity of composites. The results show that the thermal insulation properties of nonwoven composites vary significantly, depending on the type of the vegetable fibers, nature and quantity of the binder, design, and resulting bulk 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: The use of cellulosic fibers such as cotton, kenaf, ramie, jute, flax, and bagasse in the manufacturing of nonwoven composite materials for a variety of automotive parts, such as headliners, wall panels, and trunk liners could significantly improve their thermal insulation properties and enhance their biodegradability. The thermal insulation properties of a variety of cellulosic based nonwoven composites were determined by the steady-state heat flow method, in accordance with ASTM C518. The experimental data show that the thermal insulation properties of these cellulosic-based composites vary significantly, depending on the type of the fiber, pretreatment of fibers, nature and quantity of the binder, ratios of cellulosic to synthetic fibers, and the overall bulk density of composites.