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Abstract: In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, the construction industry is investing more in 'green' concretes and insulation materials. The purpose of this research was to create a porous foam using a geopolymer mixture and varying amounts of silica carbide sludge. By changing the amount of the sludge added, researchers could control what type of microstructure was produced. The effect of this variation on porosity and thermal properties was determined through the study of pore size, density, SEM observations, and thermal conductivity testing. The Hot Disk TPS was used for thermal conductivity measurements. The researchers found that the quality of the insulation depended upon the density and porosity of the material. A higher density led to an increase in the thermal conductivity, an unwanted characteristic in an insulation material. However, foam containing carbon fiber additives had a lower thermal conductivity than a foam with a similar density containing no additives, indicating that these additions could help improve the insulation capacity of the material. The lowest thermal conductivity recorded from the samples was 0.075 W/mK, a promising result for furthering the application of this type of material in construction.

Reference: The European Physical Journal Special Topics. 224: 9(2015) pp 1725-1735

DOI: 10.1140/epjst/e2015-02494-7