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Owens Corning Awarded $1.9 Million Federal Research Grant

02 November 2002

Owens Corning has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology for its proposal titled ""Environmentally-Benign Micro-Cellular Nano-Composite Foam for Structural and Insulation Markets.""

The Advanced Technology Program grant is for $1.9 million over three years and will support research and development work associated with enhancing the foam's performance while discovering a new blowing agent used during the production of the foam products.

More specifically, the grant will enable a team of Owens Corning scientists and engineers to develop advanced micro-cellular, nanocomposite rigid foam building materials with much higher structural strength and thermal insulation performance than existing materials, using environmentally benign blowing agents to replace HCFCs.

""This project is strategically important to Owens Corning's Insulating Systems Business as well as the environment,"" said George Kiemle, president, Insulating Systems Business, Owens Corning. ""Nanocomposite foam research is breaking new ground. It could revolutionize architectural design, dramatically reduce energy consumption and open new markets to lightweight structural foam materials. This grant is a huge step toward future research in this highly important market.""

Rigid plastic foams are commonly used in construction because they are lightweight and are excellent insulators. Currently, the most common blowing agents used to produce rigid plastic foam are hydrocarbon chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Due to the potential threat they pose to ozone depletion, HCFCs are being phased out and the Environmental Protection Agency has laid out a plan to discontinue their use in foam plastics in extruded polystyrene by the year 2010.

Benefits from the development of environmentally benign micro-cellular nanocomposites will be reaped in the form of significant energy reductions as a result of their use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and new low-cost structural and insulation materials.

Much of the grant funding will be directed toward the use of research support from institutions such as The Ohio State University, who will provide modeling and testing services as well as expertise in nanocomposite process development.

As part of the highly regarded NIST, the Advanced Technology Program accelerates the development of innovative technologies that potentially make feasible a broad range of new commercial opportunities and provide widespread benefits for the nation.






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