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Insulation made of rice husks and newspapers

A team of scientists at the Technological University of Panama developed an insulation material made of waste rice husks and old newspapers.

In Panama, where the study was conducted, rice husks, a waste product from rice production, is usually incinerated or dumped on the landfill. The researchers at the Technological University of Panama aim to change that.

To make the insulation, the team shredded both the husks and the newspapers. From the latter, they extracted cellulose, which in turn was mixed with the husks and glue as a binder, and borax, to make the material fire and fungi resistant. The ingredients were combined in three different ratios, which were then tested for their ability to conduct heat, their tensile strength and their compressive strength. The three variations had similar results. The thermal conductivity is comparable to other natural and recycled insulation materials.

More research is necessary before the material will hit the market, however. More studies need to be done to confirm the insulating properties, as well as the degradation speed.

Images: Technological University of Panama