Reposted from CleanTechnica:
New Research Brings To Light The Great Advantages Of The Material
Cattails — Typha sp — are a very useful material, one that can be effectively employed for a variety of very different purposes. Throughout history, they have served as a nutritious food source, a source of downy material for bedding, a raw material for wickerwork, a means of cleaning wastewater at sewage treatment plants and of removing toxins from soils, and as a medicinal plant. And now, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Valley have identified the material as one that possesses great potential as a construction material, particularly with regards to use as insulation.
Dr. Martin Krus, Head of Test Center at IBP, explains: “As one of nature’s swamp plants, cattails are resistant to molds and are very well equipped to deal with moisture. The leaves of the plant have a fiber-reinforced supporting tissue that is filled up with a soft sponge tissue. Through this special construction, they are extraordinarily stable and possess an excellent insulating effect. This effect is also preserved in the finished products.”
The researchers — working in consultation with partner typha technik Naturbaustoffe — have created a potentially commercially-viable magnesite-bound insulation panel composed of cattails. The new panel design possesses a low heat conductivity of 0.052 W/mK (watts per meter and Kelvin) and also effective fireproofing, soundproofing, and heat insulation; as well as being relatively permeable, but still tight enough to make a vapor control barrier unnecessary for most purposes. The material is also able to cope with high pressure parallel to the panel surface.
Read more at CleanTechnica: Cattails As Building Insulation.