Mechanical Behaviour of Polylactic Acid Foam as Insulation Under Increasing Temperature

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Abstract

Measures to increase the share of renewables in heat generation, combined with increased energy efficiency provide a direct emissions reduction on the heating sector. Energy efficiency measures, as well as the role-out of sustainable heating technologies such as district heating networks have one key actor: insulation. However, state of the art insulating materials such as polyurethane or polystyrene have severe environmental drawbacks incompatible with today’s transition to the circular economy, and are the Achilles’ heel of the sector in terms of sustainability. Biobased and biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) foam could be a promising replacement for fossil-based polymeric insulating foams. This study provides data on the mechanical behaviour of expanded PLA foam under different temperatures, which will help to assess its potential use as insulation where the foam is subject to heat.

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