The challenge of this project was to develop a new material which used paper feed stock and delivered the same properties of Polystyrene.
Polystyrene is the main material used by the packaging industry to protect goods from changes in temperature. Unfortunately polystyrene cannot be easily processed for re-use and is not widely recycled. It also must be kept separate from the packaging industries main waste-stream: paper.
By entrapping small air bubbles within paper pulp, it is possible to create a foam-like structure. Paper foam is lightweight, insulative and formable into various shapes, without the use of plastics.
A hot plate was set to 45℃ to simulate a real world heatwave acting upon temperature sensitive goods (Such as confectionery items or medical supplies). Samples of each material were placed on top and their surface temperature was taken every second for 15 minutes.
The experiment lasted 3 hours and the surface temperature of both Polystyrene and Paper Foam remained at a stable 35℃.