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Pcm Enriched Reycled Glass Insulation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As we near the 21st century, a feasible use for municipal solid waste is evidently needed. Glass waste is just one of these solid waste materials but it is also an important one. Each day Americans throw away approximately 30,000 tons of glass containers and 2/3 of this ends up in dumps and landfills across the country. In 1993 alone, New York State produced 22.2 million tons of municipal solid waste, and approximately 106,500 tons of that was reusable. People affected by this problem are the ones who pay taxes to support landfill costs. If the amount of glass waste that is dumped into landfills isn't curbed, there will be no place to put the glass because in 1998, all landfills in New York State will be closed. Using reusable glass waste, landfill space will decrease, as will the money going toward the operation of these landfills.

Schuller International has taken a huge step to use glass waste in a new and innovative way. They have made a recycled fiber glass insulation composed mainly of post-consumer glass, such as used household food and beverage containers. Their fiber glass process has been adapted to make use of the mixed color glass which generally cannot be recycled into bottles. By using this type of glass, this is a truly productive use of curbside disposed glass that would otherwise be in a landfill. Schuller International's project is a stepping stone for large-scale projects.

Glass waste coupled with a phase-change material can be used as a viable insulator. Phase-changing materials that act as a thermal flywheel prevent swings in temperature and store large quantities of heat. Changing phase means going from solid to liquid or liquid to gas or reverse. The phase changing material in this project is paraffin wax.

At the University of Dayton, Ohio, a new wallboard has been engineered which implements phase-changing materials. So far, the best containment process has been when the phase-change material is imbibed into small pellets of HDPE by swelling at high temperature.

Our proposed solution for the excess glass waste in New York State has been formulated through the ideas brought about from Schuller International coupled with the new technology from the University of Dayton Research Institute. The proposed solution includes using phase-change materials as the insulation material, and recyclable glass bottles as containers. The goals and enabling activities of this project are as follows: The primary goal is to develop a new way to use glass waste in New York State by testing glass' insulating ability when combined with phase-change materials, in this case, paraffin wax. The next goal is to design a control chamber as well as a test chamber in order to compare conventional insulation with this new type of insulation.

The test chamber will test the insulating abilities of paraffin and glass together. The glass containers, in this case Snapple bottles, will be filled with the paraffin and closed. The containers will be slid upside down into the empty space in between the inside and outside walls of a wooden cube. The rest of the space will be filled with cement, and allowed to dry. A thermometer will be placed halfway into the chamber in order to record temperature changes. The control chamber will be almost the same, but inside the walls of the chamber, the conventional R-19 insulation will be placed. Then both the control and test chamber will be placed in the sun and record the temperatures of their inner chambers. Then they will be left out at night and have their temperatures recorded. This will be done five times for each chamber in order to try to ensure accuracy. The amount of heat stored during the day and then reradiated at night will also be recorded. The temperature differences of the two chambers will be compared in order to test the efficiency of one as compared to the other. After this is done, the usefulness of the new type of insulation will be determined.

The proposed solution is superior to measures already being used to deal with the problem because it implements both the use of recyclable glass and the use of a phase change material as an insulator. This new insulation will save landfill taxpayers money while lowering heating bills considerably. It will also lessen the need for landfills since all landfills will close [in New York State]. In so far as this project is concerned, no negative effects have been found. u


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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