ISOBIO aims to develop new bio-based insulation panels and renders, and to scale them for mainstream adoption by the building and construction industry, but just how much do we actually know about the bio-materials we are proposing to use? ISOBIO researchers have been working on deepening our understanding of these amazing materials
It is well known that plant based materials offer great benefits in the field of construction. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, generating oxygen and water in the process, so when incorporated into a building offer the possibility of carbon negative construction. Experience has shown that bio-based materials have the capability to manage the internal air quality passively, producing much more healthy living environments.
Just how this works, and why plant based materials perform so well has been the subject of research for several decades. ISOBIO researchers at the University of Bath in the UK and the University of Rennes 1 in France have been delving deep into the microstructure of plants and have discovered some remarkable characteristics.
These plants have complex interlinked pore structures, designed by nature to transport moisture and nutrients. When incorporated into buildings these same pores not only provide excellent levels of thermal insulation but also buffer moisture, resulting in steady humidity levels in rooms reducing the need for air conditioning.
Plants such as hemp, oil-seed rape, flax, wheat and corn-cob all offer varying degrees of insulation and moisture buffering, and the researchers within the ISOBIO project are developing a detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved and ways to optimise their performance. This understanding is being incorporated into the novel ISOBIO panels and plasters that will be available on the market by the end of the decade.