Project Summary

Rigid polyurethane foam (RPUF) is the most efficient commercial insulation material for which the global market is expected to increase up to AUD 27 billion by 2020 due to increased demand in the building, construction, transportation and appliance sectors. Achieving thermal insulation performance without any compromise in dimensional stability, mechanical properties and durability of RPUF through a cost-effective and sustainable approach, still remains a challenge. Our team addresses this challenge by systematically incoporating bio-based building blocks (lignin, natural oil polyols) and sustainable functional nanoadditives (nanocellulose and others) through the scalable and green-chemical processing methods.

Industrial lignin containing insulation foams

Research Group

Martin Group


Polyurethane, nanocellulose, cellulose, foam, lignin, cement, concrete, bitumen


Septevani, Athanasia A., Evans, David A. C., Annamalai, Pratheep K. and Martin, Darren J. (2017) The use of cellulose nanocrystals to enhance the thermal insulation properties and sustainability of rigid polyurethane foam. Industrial Crops and Products, 107 114-121. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2017.05.039

Septevani, Athanasia A., Evans, David A. C., Chaleat, Celine, Martin, Darren J. and Annamalai, Pratheep K. (2015) A systematic study substituting polyether polyol with palm kernel oil based polyester polyol in rigid polyurethane foam. Industrial Crops and Products, 66 16-26. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.11.053

Project members

Lead Investigators

Dr Pratheep Kumar Annamalai 

Advance QLD Research Fellow
Advanced Spinifex Biofutures Materials Centre

Researchers Involved

Dr Nasim Amiralian

Group Leader and Advance Queensland Research Fellow
Amiralian Group


David Evans, Bronwyn Laycock, Johnny Ho