Sustainable heat insulation composites from date palm fibre reinforced poly(β-hydroxybutyrate)

Amal Mlhem, Basim Abu-Jdayil, Tay Tong-Earn, Muhammad Iqbal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The use of natural fibre–reinforced bio-composites has been increasing over the past decade in construction and building applications. This study investigated the thermal insulation capabilities of date palm fibre (DPF)–reinforced poly (β-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) composites fabricated via melt blending, compression moulding and annealing. The effects of DPF loading (10 wt%-50 wt%) on the fabricated composites were investigated to evaluate the physical, thermal and mechanical properties. Additionally, the obtained results of the developed composites were investigated and confirmed by SEM, DSC, FT-IR, TGA and bomb calorimeter. The result showed that the thermal conductivity of composites increased with DPF content and varied between 0.086 and 0.112 W/(mΔK) for various loadings of DPF. The heat capacity and thermal diffusivity of the composite were 1760 J/(kg.K) and 0.0474 mm2/sat maximum fibre concentrations (50 wt%), respectively. Furthermore, DPF addition to the PHB matrix increased the thermal stability of the composites. The composites containing 30 wt% DPF showed the maximum compressive strength (65 MPa) and exhibited thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity of 0.092 W/(mΔK) and 0.041 mm2/s, respectively. However, the hollow structure of DPF declined the tensile properties of the composite. Addition of DPF reduced the gross calorific potential of the composites to 20.2 MJ/kg, which is lower than commonly used insulating materials. The water absorption was observed to increase with DPF contents, however it showed lower absorption values (3%) compared to the conventional thermal insulation material. Therefore, these findings show that this fully bio-based material composite can be a viable alternative for construction-related applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104617
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2022


  • Biodegradable construction material
  • Date palm fibre
  • Green thermal insulator
  • Natural waste
  • Polyhydroxybutyrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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