October 2014 saw the launch of a new European project, WOOL4BUILD (IMPROVED INSULATION MATERIAL FOR ECO-BUILDING BASED ON NATURAL WOOL) lead by the Spanish company, INPELSA. The project was co-funded by the EC through the call AITEX , Textile Technological Institute, UPV , Polytechnic University of Valencia and ENVIPARK, Environmental Company
The main objective is to develop a sustainable WOOL4BUILD product for the insulation of buildings based on fur and wool scraps that are produced in the fur industry, with good performance in thermal and acoustic insulation. It is assumed that sheep wool is an excellent natural material with very good thermal insulation, moisture management and noise absorption properties. However, due to its natural origin, the homogeneity of the fibers is not controlled and each fur or wool fiber can come from different sheep breeds or skin areas.
The aim is to turn sheepskin and wool scraps into new materials with acoustic applications, both for architectural acoustics and environmental acoustics. Sheepskin generates the well-known wool fibers, which are used to make what is known as fleece. Natural materials with acoustic applications can be made with the fleece. Therefore, researchers from the Jesús Fernández Alba, are participating in this project, in which the UPV is a partner. Jesus Alba is professor of Applied Physics at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and professor and researcher at the Campus Gandia. He has conducted dozens of research projects from the UPV, for public and private entities, in their majority related to construction, acoustic materials and noise pollution.
The UPV part of the project will perform acoustic validation activities:
a) Manufacture of small samples
b) Acoustic tests
c) Porosity and flow resistivity
d) Acoustic measurements of scale samples
e) Standardized validation of samples
These new natural absorbent materials will substitute other more environmentally aggressive ones such as rock wool. This way, we can go from petroleum-based materials to natural fiber-based material. In addition to taking advantage of the scraps from sheepskin remnants, this will offer a new environmentally non-invasive alternative, manufacturing new acoustic materials from a natural base.