Soap-based thermal insulation: An environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum counterparts

Yusuf Arayici*, Lee Read

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The research aims to develop soap based thermal insulation for buildings as a sustainable alternative to the petroleum based counterparts, whilst decreasing the associated environmental costs. The soap insulation is centered on the basic ingredients of waste animal fats, waste oils and a potash derived lye mixture, combined to create a crude soap. It is aerated to produce a lightweight structure that is capable of preventing or reducing heat transfer between areas of differing temperatures. The resulting product is surrounded in hemp to prevent the onset of premature degradation and for the protection of the soap content. Producing thermal insulation from aerated soap creates its own challenges and problems, including finding a suitable method of aerating a basic soap mixture and then making it waterproof, vermin proof and of adequate tensile strength, all whilst not relying on toxic chemicals to do so. Any problems and failures are exposed during the cycle of improvements that precede the manufacture of the final sample. Research findings have shown that soap insulation can work in both laboratory testing and actual cavity wall placement, albeit to a lesser extent than an equivalent thickness of its petroleum counterparts. The soap insulation proposed is better for the environment than crude oil retrieval, processing and petroleum insulation manufacture. The abundance of waste fats and oils would also ensure that there is consistent flow of raw materials to fuel the manufacture. Insulation manufactured from animal waste products can help to preserve and conserve the sustainable environment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Energy Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781536113259
ISBN (Print)9781536111033
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Soap-based thermal insulation: An environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum counterparts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this