Development and characterization of Polystyrene–Date palm surface fibers composites for sustainable heat insulation in construction

Mohsin Raza, Hyder Al Abdallah, Mohamad Kozal, Alaa Al Khaldi, Tariq Ammar, Basim Abu-Jdayil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study is the first to use date palm surface fibers, an underutilized waste, to develop thermoplastic insulation composites. The building sector accounts for approximately 40% of global energy consumption, making energy efficiency in buildings a critical concern. The composites were produced by melting expandable polystyrene (PS) and date palm surface fibers (DSF) at different weight percentages (10–40%) to increase biodegradability and promote renewability. The developed insulation composites exhibited excellent thermal properties with a low thermal conductivity of 0.053 W/(m.K) and a low thermal diffusivity of 0.045 mm2/sec. Thermogravimetric analysis showed high thermal stability, with a Tonset greater than 300 °C and a mass loss of only approximately 6%. Differential scanning calorimetry indicated a higher glass transition Tg of, approximately 100 °C. Application lifetime analysis showed that the PS–DSF composites maintained approximately 100% of their mass over 10 years when exposed to temperatures ranging from 30 to 120 °C, demonstrating their suitability for long-term insulation applications. The inclusion of DSF also exhibited positive synergistic effects on thermal stability. The insulation composites displayed improved compressive strength (19.33–22.66 MPa) compared to that of pure PS. Using thermoplastics and lignocellulosic waste in insulation composites is a practical, cost-effective, and environment-friendly solution for the construction industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106982
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2023


  • Building sector
  • Date palm surface fibers
  • Date palm waste
  • Energy efficiency
  • Insulation
  • Polystyrene
  • Waste utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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