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Thermal Properties of Mycology Materials



Natural composite materials continue to gain momentum as alternatives to synthetic composite materials for lower-load applications. Mycology materials, in addition to being more carbon neutral, show good potential as a natural composite option due to their benefits of non-toxicity and ease of disposal by composting, reducing environmental impact. The cellular structure of mycology materials make them an attractive option for insulation applications, and as they can be faced with either natural or synthetic laminate materials, they have potential for use in composite insulation panels. Characterization of mycology materials’ thermal insulation properties is needed to provide information for their development into such applications. The following thermal insulation properties of mycology materials will be characterized using several experimental methods carried out according to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. The ability of the material to be used for internal and external applications will be investigated by considering the effect of environmental degradation on the material, using ASTM C488−05 Standard Test Method for Conducting Exterior Exposure Tests of Finishes for Thermal Insulation. Current commercialized applications of mycology materials include packaging and furniture, where the product comes in close contact with users, and potential insulation applications need information on the material’s odor-release behavior at elevated temperatures. This will be determined using ASTM C1304−08 Standard Test Method for Assessing the Odor Emission of Thermal Insulation Materials. Determining the maximum use temperature is key when selecting the material for suitable applications, and will be determined using ASTM C447–03 Standard Practice for Estimating the Maximum Use Temperature of Thermal Insulations. Finally, the thermal resistance R value of the material, commonly used to describe the efficiency of insulating materials, will be determined using ASTM C1044–12 Standard Practice for Using a Guarded-Hot-Plate Apparatus.

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