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Development of a bio-based membrane for application as weather barrier in the building industry

Project Description

Weather barriers are membranes used in the building wall envelopes. Their function is to prevent water (and wind) from entering the vulnerable sections of walls and roofs, while allowing moisture to escape to the outside. The use of these membranes is specified in the national building codes and they can have different possible forms: polyethylene, rubberized bitumen, elastomeric bitumen, expanded polystyrene, etc. Most membranes currently used in industry have high petro-sourced content with high intrinsic energy.

The Quebec GES building code highlights that greenhouse gas emissions from buildings account for a large share of the region`s overall emissions, and strives to achieve its emission reduction targets by 2030. To accomplish this goal, buildings should have a highly energy efficient design as well as lower embodied energy. Since majority of the electricity generated for use in Quebec buildings is derived from hydroelectricity (renewable source), the embodied energy of buildings play a major role in contributing towards carbon emissions during their life cycle.

Quebec has immense potential for developing renewable materials, particularly through conversion of several paper mills in to a bio-refining plant. Kruger Inc. is one such example and they have developed cellulose fibers (CF) which offer wide possibilities for new product development. Preliminary studies include surface modification of CF for improved compatibility with a bio-based polymer. It is possible to dissolve the CF and then obtain a film by evaporating the water. The presence of CF ensures mechanical integrity of the film while its concentration and organization would govern the permeance of the film. Based on these assumptions, we aim to develop a novel membrane utilising CF and bio-based polymers.

Funding Notes

Successful PhD applicant will be offered 21,000 $CAN per year paid in the form of salary. Duration of 3 years.

Related Subjects

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