Low Formaldehyde Binders for Mineral Wool Insulation: A Review

Thomas M. Bennett, John F. Allan, Jennifer A. Garden, Michael P. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Insulating materials are ubiquitous in a built environment and play a critical role in reducing the energy consumed to maintain habitable indoor environments. Mineral wool insulation (MWI) products, including glass, stone, and slag variants, are the most widely used class of insulating materials in Europe and account for more than 50% of the total market by volume. MWI typically consists of two key components: a mesh of inorganic fibers that are several micrometers in diameter, and an organic thermosetting adhesive commonly referred to as the “binder.” Traditional phenol-formaldehyde-urea (PFU) binders used in the manufacture of MWI are increasingly being scrutinized for the formaldehyde released during their manufacture and service lifetime. The recent classification of formaldehyde as a carcinogen by various safety organizations has accelerated a paradigm shift within the industry toward alternative binder technologies that minimize or indeed eliminate formaldehyde emissions. This review examines more recent strategies for achieving low- or zero-added formaldehyde binders for MWI, with a particular focus on the patent literature. The chemistry underpinning traditional PFU binders is presented and compared to new strategies involving scavenging molecules that decrease formaldehyde emissions, as well as zero-added formaldehyde binder technologies such as polyester, Maillard, and epoxide thermosets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2100110
JournalGlobal Challenges
Early online date12 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2022


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