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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #271960

Title: Reclaiming fiberglass from faced insulation batts

item Baker, Kevin

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2011
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Citation: Baker, K.D. 2011. Reclaiming fiberglass from faced insulation batts. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Presentation only; number 1110587.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In the manufacture of paper-backed fiberglass insulation, defects may occur that cause the manufacturer to reject approximately 45 metric tons (50 tons) of material on average each month. This material is currently hauled to a landfill, placing both a financial burden on the company and an environmental burden as well. Some cotton ginning equipment could be modified so that it could be used to strip the fiberglass material from its paper backing. This separation of materials would allow the fiberglass material to be recycled – melted and reused in the plant – while the oil-impregnated paper could be used as a fuel for a cogeneration facility. Material delivered to the landfill would be significantly reduced. There are estimated to be 29 fiberglass insulation manufacturing plants across the U.S. and others worldwide that would benefit from this technology. A machine was developed that pulled a vacuum on a rotating perforated round screen to hold the material in place while a series of rotating saw blades removed the fiberglass from the backing. Optimum machine parameters were a feed rate equivalent to a 20 rpm rotational speed of the perforated screen, and a 550 rpm saw speed. The machine required that the fiberglass be hand separated from the paper backing before being introduced to it (at least 80 % separation by hand). The saws removed the remaining fiberglass, except for a 1 to 2 percent residual that remained on the paper. There was no paper observed in the fiberglass that was removed. The effectiveness of the hand/machine fiberglass removal was improved to 99.5 % when the insulation was fed through the machine four times per each piece.