The controlled patterning of the nano-structure during the self-assembly process facilitates the infusion of resins for stiffening / strengthening and the production of foams with customised internal structures and directional strength. The inherent strength of the NCC skeleton means that only minimal quantities of reinforcing resin are needed, resulting in lightweight and cost-effective foams.
Within NCC-FOAM, the overall objective is to develop an NCC foam/resin composite that enables the design, development and processing of sustainable structural foam materials. The use of infused resins has yet to be developed, the challenge being to produce foams that are simultaneously structural, durable and renewably-sourced. If successful, this would represent a true breakthrough for rigid foam technology.
Furthermore, NCC-FOAM aims to bring the production techniques closer to industrialisation by developing the methods and equipment to produce foams with meaningful practical dimensions (at least 1 m x 0.5 m x 20mm). Such samples will allow the feasibility of future industrialisation to be assessed, as well as permitting a full characterisation of the materials.