Formaldehyde Free Glass Fibre Insulation

  • Shaver, Michael (Participant)
  • Jair Azael Esquivel Guzman (Participant)
  • Thomas Bennett (Participant)

Impact: Economic, Environmental


The primary role of insulating materials in society is to passively reduce unwanted energy emissions. This is predominantly thermal energy, yet their use extends to other associated areas including electrical, acoustic, fire resistance, radiation, and moisture protection. Insulation products therefore provide a vital role in minimizing global energy consumption and reducing carbon emissions.

Glass fibre insulation is among the most efficient materials in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation, which makes it an essential component in the construction industry. This is a highly sustainable material able to save during its lifetime up to 300 times more energy than that used for its manufacture and transportation.

Unfortunately, traditional technologies for fabrication of glass fibre insulation rely upon toxic formaldehyde in their initial formulation. The use of formaldehyde is a hazard concern not only encountered during manufacture but also in the final product, as free formaldehyde is slowly released into the air over time after installation of the product, resulting in products that do not perform well in indoor air quality tests.

This KTP project, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and our industrial partner, looks to develop a more environmentally sustainable glass fibre insulation, with similar or improved mechanical and flexural properties to existing products, that can be manufactured at a competitive price point but without formaldehyde or other toxic components.
Impact date2019
Category of impactEconomic, Environmental
Impact levelBenefit

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Consumption Institute
  • Henry Royce Institute
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute