Sustainability Assessment of Protein-Soil Composite Materials for Limited Resource Environments
This article presents the sustainability assessment of a novel biocomposite material that is under investigation by NASA for use in construction in limited resource environments. The composite consists of soil particles solidified by a protein binding agent. Preliminary compressive strength data suggests the biocomposite could be used for numerous construction applications. To assess the biocomposite's potential for use in sustainable construction, a comparative process-based life cycle assessment between biocomposite and concrete pavers was performed to analyze the life cycle primary energy and IMPACT 2002+ points of both types of pavers. Results show that the concrete pavers outperform the biocomposite pavers in initial impact. However, biocomposite pavers can be more favorable when binder reclamation and reuse scenarios are taken into account at end-of-life. Based on these results, recommendations include switching to a mixture of lower grade proteins to reduce the biocomposite impact as well as further laboratory investigations into recycling scenarios.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2015-08-01
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- The Journal of Renewable Materials (JRM) publishes high quality peer reviewed original research on macromolecules and additives obtained from renewable/biobased resources. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, JRM introduces cutting-edge research on biobased monomers, polymers, additives (both organic and inorganic), their blends and composites. It showcases both fundamental aspects and new applications for renewable materials. The fundamental theories and topics pertain to chemistry of biobased monomers, macromoners and polymers, their structure-property relationship, processing using sustainable methods, characterization (spectroscopic, morphological, thermal, mechanical, and rheological), bio and environmental degradation, and life cycle analysis. Demonstration of use of renewable materials and composites in applications including adhesives, bio and environmentally degradable structures, biomedicine, construction, electrical & electronics, mechanical, mendable and self-healing systems, optics, packaging, recycling, shape-memory, and stimulus responsive systems will be presented.
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