Researchers develop viable, environmentally-friendly alternative to Styrofoam. For the first time, the researchers report, the plant-based material surpassed the insulation capabilities of Styrofoam. It is also very lightweight and can support up to 200 times its weight without changing shape

Researchers develop viable, environmentally-friendly alternative to Styrofoam. For the first time, the researchers report, the plant-based material surpassed the insulation capabilities of Styrofoam. It is also very lightweight and can support up to 200 times its weight without changing shape

  • Washington State University researchers have developed an environmentally-friendly, plant-based material that for the first time works better than Styrofoam for insulation.
  • The foam is mostly made from nanocrystals of cellulose, the most abundant plant material on earth.
  • Researchers have been working to develop an environmentally friendly replacement for polystyrene foam, or Styrofoam.
  • The popular material, made from petroleum, is used in everything from coffee cups to materials for building and construction, transportation, and packaging industries.
  • For the first time, the researchers report, the plant-based material surpassed the insulation capabilities of Styrofoam.
  • “Our results demonstrate the potential of renewable materials, such as nanocellulose, for high‑performance thermal insulation materials that can contribute to energy savings, less usage of petroleum-based materials, and reduction of adverse environmental impacts.”
  • The researchers are now developing formulations for stronger and more durable materials for practical applications.