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The North Dakota Renewable Energy Council will be providing $200,000 US to fund a two year research project at the North Dakota State University (NDSU).
NDSU expect that the research, which is being carried out by a team of their scientists and engineers with the private sector, could result in products to meet market demand for “green” composite building materials. Whilst composites are traditionally made from glass fibres held together with a petrochemical-based binder resin, the research team will develop new types of bio-based binder resins from agricultural products such as soybean oil, cellulose and sugar.
NDSU explained that by using various chemical reactions on the agricultural raw materials, a series of candidate resins will be prepared for use in composites, which will then be tested. They will then collaborate with Tecton Products to scale up the most promising resin systems for testing in a production environment.
“This type of material could be used in building products to meet a growing demand for ‘green’ composite materials” said Chad Ulven, NDSU Department of Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor. The resulting product would be expected to have low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Such a product may also have enhanced physical properties, compared to its traditional counterpart. If successful, the composite materials could be commercialized and manufactured with the novel resin being developed with agricultural products.
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