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Innovative low-density blocks from amaranth pith for the thermal insulation of buildings

Evon, Philippe and de Langalerie, Guyonne and Labonne, Laurent and Merah, Othmane and Talou, Thierry and Ballas, Stéphane and Véronèse, Thierry Innovative low-density blocks from amaranth pith for the thermal insulation of buildings. (2019) In: 15th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries (RRB15), 3 June 2019 - 5 June 2019 (Toulouse, France). (Unpublished)

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Amaranth is an annual herb native to temperate and tropical regions. Cultivated by Native Americans for the nutritional properties of its seeds, the latter are very digestible and also an interesting source of starch and proteins. For the future, amaranth appears as a promising raw material for the biorefinery of whole plants, all parts of the plant being potentially usable for different food and non-food applications. This study especially aims to investigate the possible uses of pith from stems for material applications. For that, plants from the Amaranthus cruentus variety were cultivated in 2018 near Auch (Gers, France). Stems were manually harvested at plant maturity. Representing up to 90% w/w of the aerial part of amaranth plant, stems were then dried in a ventilated oven to facilitate their conservation. They are composed of a bark on their periphery and a pith fraction in their middle. The structure of stems was studied from ten samples, and the pith fraction was estimated manually to 27% w/w. Due to the difference in density between bark and pith fractions, a fractionation process associating grinding and blowing steps made possible the continuous separation between bark and pith. As for sunflower and corn, amaranth pith particles have an alveolar (i.e. a microporous) structure similar to that of expanded polystyrene, and they reveal a very low bulk density (e.g. 48-52 kg/m3 for 4-16 mm particle size, and 58-61 kg/m3 for 1.25-2.50 mm particle size), making them a promising raw material for the thermal insulation of buildings. Cohesive and low-density insulation blocks were successfully obtained from amaranth pith, primarily mixed with a starch-based binder, through compression moulding at ambient temperature. Different operating conditions were tested, especially including (i) the size distribution of amaranth pith particles, (ii) the binder content, and (iii) the filling level of the mould. All produced samples were then characterized in terms of (i) density, (ii) bending and compression properties, and (iii) thermal insulation properties (measured through the hot wire method). All insulation blocks revealed low density, ranging from 90 to 140 kg/m3. Such innovative materials could be sustainable and viable options for the thermal insulation of buildings.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
HAL Id:hal-02640870
Audience (conference):International conference without published proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ovalie Innovation (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:05 May 2020 15:39

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