Environment

Orange tree waste turned into high-performance acoustic insulation

Orange tree waste turned into ...
Researchers in Spain have developed new, high-performance acoustic insulation material from the trimmings of orange trees
Researchers in Spain have developed new, high-performance acoustic insulation material from the trimmings of orange trees
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Researchers in Spain have developed new, high-performance acoustic insulation material from the trimmings of orange trees
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Researchers in Spain have developed new, high-performance acoustic insulation material from the trimmings of orange trees
The research team have developed insulation with a 150% improvement on conventional gypsum boards
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The research team have developed insulation with a 150% improvement on conventional gypsum boards
Researcher Dr Jesús Alba from the Campus de Gandia of the Universitat Politècnica de València, has helped develop high-performance acoustic insulation from orange tree waste
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Researcher Dr Jesús Alba from the Campus de Gandia of the Universitat Politècnica de València, has helped develop high-performance acoustic insulation from orange tree waste
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Homes may one day benefit from improved acoustic insulation with an orange flavor after researchers in Spain managed to turn waste material from orange trees into high-performance acoustic insulation. The new material is more environmentally friendly to produce and an improvement in terms of acoustic insulation compared to conventional laminated gypsum boards.

The new boards are created from orange tree trimmings, which are collected from the fields and put through a defibration (or "digestion") process, before being combined with polypropylene, a common plastic found in a wide variety of products, including toys and automobile parts.

"The mechanical properties are better than those of gypsum boards; this means that with the same board thickness, the acoustic insulation is higher; or that we can reduce the thickness to obtain the same insulation", says Dr Jesús Alba, a researcher at the Campus de Gandia of the Universitat Politècnica de València, who has teamed up with researchers at the Universitat de Girona.

The "recycled" boards have an acoustic insulation potential of about 29 dBA, which is a difference of 2 dBA (or a 50 percent improvement) on conventional laminated gypsum boards, which are usually rated at 27 dBA.

"If we use a double solution material, that is, a material that incorporates two boards and an absorbent wool in between, like a sandwich, the improvement is about 5 or 6 dBA, which means it will insulate more than double the conventional system," says Dr Alba.

Alba says the new insulation boards also meet the objectives of the European research programme Horizon 2020, which focuses on replacing materials that can damage the environment with natural or recycled raw materials.

While some companies have shown interest in the product, it is still too early to determine if or when it will be commercially available. Alba says that companies will need to assess costs and look at ways of automating the production processes.

The team is working on improving the compositions to further increase their insulation properties, and is also working with ground olive stones in a similar way to the orange trimmings, having achieved very promising preliminary results.

Both Dr. Alba and Dr. Mutjé say that using agricultural sub-products, such as the waste from orange tree pruning and olive stones, could provide significant economic benefits for the industry.

The research was published in the Journal of Construction and Building Materials.

Source: Asociación RUVID

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5 comments
Kie
Laminated gypsum boards are not sound insulation, so comparing with them is a bit pointless. 29db is a very low figure when sounds can easily reach 100db.
"Orange tree waste turned into high-performance acoustic insulation" So, the headline is completely wrong.
Mac McDougal
Have read this passage twice:
The "recycled" boards have an acoustic insulation potential of about 29 dBA, which is a difference of 2 dBA (or a 50 percent improvement) on conventional laminated gypsum boards, which are usually rated at 27 dBA.
Since when does a jump from 27 to 29 equal 50 percent?
––– Hi Mac, this from the researchers:
"The decibel is a compressed measurement. Instead of measuring from very small values of energy (0.0000000001 the smallest) to large values (100000000 the largest), the logarithmic conversion is done into decibels which limits the scale from 0 to 140 dB and thus it is easier to "read" the energy.
In logarithms, within the decibel is a logarithmic, having twice or half translates into having 3 dB more or 3 dB less. When we are talking of 2 dB the relation becomes approximately a factor of one and a half (i.e. 150% of the initial).
In the specific case: 27 dB are 0.001995262 of associated transmission. 29 dB are 0.001258925 of associated transmission (the reduced transmission of the forth decimal is very important in noise, although it may not seem so). To quantify changes in the form of percentage gives us 58.5%. Prudence takes us to round up at 50%."
- Ed.
SaysMe
What if they made it with air added, a ' foam' to add more insulation value?
Alex Aricci
Unfortunately it would likely become mechanically weaker as a result, still they absolutely could do it, they could probably do it with regular gypsum too though.
Douglas Moir
This article is misleading. Essentially they have a denser type of wallboard that can block a little more sound than your average gypsum. There is absolutely no "insulation value to this denser board as it is just as reflective as regular gypsum.