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Faqs

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Technical

Zeoform is not just one material – but many – from styrofoam light to ebony dense. The density range covered by Zeoform materials starts with Low Density Zeoform LD at 0.5 g/cm3 at the lower reaching up to 1.5 g/cm3 for High Density Zeoform HD at the upper end (it should also be mentioned that density values as low as 0.3 g/cm3 may be obtained for porous Zeoform types). For comparison, at the lower end of the Zeoform density range, chipboard reveals a density of approximately 0.7 g/cm3, while PVC and PF-HM show density values of 1.4 g/cm3, close to the upper end of the range of Zeoform materials. PE-HD, with 0.95 g/cm3, shows a density in the mid-range of densities covered Zeoform materials.

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Many factors influence the answer. What type of Zeoform? What feedstock? How much energy was used to generate the feedstock? The feedstock then needs to be processed into a microfiber-pulp using a specific grinding energy of 0.35 to 1.75 kWh/kg.

Note: The mechanical milling of Zeoform generates waste heat that may be captured, stored and used for further production.

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Zeoform can be processed from raw (dry or wet) pulp into hard objects under ‘room-temperature’ conditions, including a drying cabinet at approx. 80ºC. During the evaporation process, a combination of physical and chemical reactions (fibre entanglement and hydroxyl bonding) occurs to enmesh cellulose fibres into a dense, uniform material. Zeoform can be compression moulded, sheet-pressed and formed under pressure at a temperature of 180ºC.

Note: The mechanical milling of Zeoform generates waste heat that may be captured, stored and used for further production. (And, of course, there are many ways to generate heat without burning fossil fuels, for example solar, wind, water turbines and other sources.)

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Between several hours and several days – depending on the size and wall thickness of the object.

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Zeoform manufacturing uses a water evaporation process rather than thermo-forming (as in the plastic industries). A combination of chemical and physical factors occur during evaporation that cause a tight bonding of cellulose fibres, with no other bonding agents.

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Zeoform shrinks by 600% during evaporation/drying. Therefore, a 6mm thick piece of wet Zeoform will dry and shrink to 1mm.

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92% evaporation from wet pulp state yields a dry hard material with 8% retained humidity. To clarify, ALL cellulose contains a small fraction of water, approximately 8%.

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Once dry Zeoform can be worked just like any wood – drilled, cut, routed, laser-cut, engraved, sanded, coated, polished etc. Zeoform has a very dense, even grain, capable of being nailed, screwed or bolted, depending upon type and density.

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Zeoform utilises an additive, water-evaporation process to form raw pulp into hard objects. Various shapes and geometries can be achieved using collapsible (male) moulds, multi-compression moulds, sheet makers and other special forming equipment.

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Yes. Because Zeoform has no immediate ‘setting time’, spillage can be recycled directly into the production line, or stored for another run. In the future, used Zeoform products may be recycled after removing additives or coatings.

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Material can be moulded to tolerances of +/-1mm with further CNC machining giving tolerances of +/- 0.1mm.

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Tests were conducted following ISO 175 and ISO 178, using an Instron 4505 testing machine. Zeoform HD specimens were immersed in distilled water at 23°C. After 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, 48, 96 and 168 hours, specimens were taken out of the water. Half of these specimens undergone flexural tests, the other half was dried at 23/50 till constant weight was achieved and tested afterwards. Figure 3 shows the dependency of the flexural modulus of the wet and dry specimens on the immersion time. It is clearly visible that the flexural modulus decreases very fast, after one day the minimum value of approximately 500 MPa is nearly reached, about one tenth of the starting value of 9400 MPa. Most interesting is that the dried specimens regain their old stiffness, independent of the immersion time. Deviations from this statement, visible in figure 3, are due to a high statistical bandwidth. Click here to see chart.

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White Zeoform fibres will discolour to yellow after several months of full exposure to the sun. To prevent this a small amount of titanium dioxide can be added to ensure a long lasting, bright white product. Zeoform products do not break down in sunlight. In desert conditions a Zeoform house would be expected to stand for many decades. [Full UV report pending]

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Flexural tests were carried out with an Instron 4505 testing machine according to ISO 178. Due to possible border effects and non-linear elastic behaviour flexural strength and flexural modulus of Zeoform is higher then the analog tensile properties. The measured flexural strength is 95 MPa and 17 MPa, the flexural modulus 9400 MPa and 1800 MPa for Zeoform HD and Zeoform LD respectively. PF-HM comes close to the values for Zeoform HD with ≥ 70 MPa and 7000 MPa for strength and modulus respectively, while the chipboard has flexural properties close to Zeoform LD. PVC-U’s flexural strength of 100 MPa is slightly higher than Zeoform HD’s.

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Zeoform pulp can be moulded in a number of ways; sculpted by hand in both wet and dry states, sprayed onto moulds, 3-stage (machine) moulding process with varying amounts of compression and evaporation.

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Not at this time. Injection moulding (in plastics industry) requires a thermo-setting material and special equipment. Zeoform uses a water-evaporation process with collapsible male moulds, multi-compression moulds, sheet makers or other forming equipment. It is possible that in the future, with sufficient resources, a type of ‘injection’ process could be developed.

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No, Zeoform cannot yet be 3D printed at this time. With enough resources however, Zeoform may be 3D printed with bio-resins and special printers in the foreseeable future.

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Yes, using custom built machinery that allows water to drain and Zeoform to cure predictably.

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Zeoform can be made into sheets/surfaces minimum 0.5mm – 1mm thick that are translucent, allowing it to be used in lighting applications.

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Zeoform can be processed from raw (dry or wet) pulp into hard objects under ‘room-temperature’ conditions, including a drying cabinet at approx. 80ºC. During the evaporation process, a combination of physical and chemical reactions (fibre entanglement and hydroxyl bonding) occurs to enmesh cellulose fibres into a dense, uniform material. Zeoform can be compression moulded, sheet-pressed and formed under pressure at a temperature of 180ºC.

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1kg of suitable feedstock plus 6 litres of water equals 7kg (15.4lbs) of wet Zeoform pulp. When evaporated, the weight returns to 1kg of dry Zeoform. Note, water can be collected, filtered and used repeatedly.

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Zeoform can be moulded to tolerances of +/-1mm, with further CNC machining pushing tolerances of +/- 0.1mm.

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Zeoform is naturally inclined to make spheres, tubes and other rounded shapes. Depending on structure complexity, product may require CNC machining following de-moulding to achieve the required tolerances.

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Tests conducted with an Instron 4505 Universal Electromechanical testing machine (Instron, High Wycombe, UK) according to ISO 527 standards indicated tensile modulus values of Zeoform LD (Low Density 0.5g/cm3) at 1500 MPa, Zeoform HD (High Density 1.5g/cm3) at 6550 MPa. The difference in these measurements (a factor of 4) reflects the different densities. These values compare favourably with other materials such as Polyethylene (PE-HD = 1000 MPa), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC = 3000 MPa). For more technical data, click HERE.

In terms of tensile strength, the differences between Zeoform LD and Zeoform HD are significantly enhanced, revealing a difference of a factor of 8 (Zeoform LD: 7 MPa; Zeoform HD: 55 MPa). Nevertheless, the tensile strength values for Zeoform materials are also comparable to those of the other materials, at least for the higher density range (PE-HD: 25 MPa; PVC: 60 MPa; PF-HM: 25 MPa). At this point it should also be mentioned that specimens of Zeoform with unground surfaces reveal significantly higher tensile strength values, with a tensile strength for Zeoform HD of 75 MPa.

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Tests conducted with a Ceast Resil 25 pendulum (Ceast Spa, Turin I) following ISO 179 indicated that Zeoform HD (1.5g/cm3) reached a Charpy impact strength of 14 kJ/m2 and 6 kJ/m2 for un-notched, notched and un-grinded specimens respectively. For more technical data, click HERE.

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Zeoform can achieve high strength-to-weight ratio materials with very light weights – (0.3gm / cm3), making it suitable for panels, bulking components and blanks for products or further shaping. Panels can be produced in numerous weights, shapes and with hard Zeoform skins (of varying thickness) for conventional (eg insulation) and specialised applications (surfboard, sporting equipment etc).

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Zeoform is primarily cellulose, however in certain applications lignin can provide useful qualities, for example to simulate certain woods or surfaces. In tests ‘Zeoform MD’ made from retted hemp fibres that included lignin – which conveyed improved strength and water resistance.

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This very much depends on the properties required for the end product. ZEOFORM is a range of materials that can be engineered according to the need. For the stronger materials with better engineering properties then it is best to avoid lignin. For insulation materials, and some of the lighter structural boards a certain amount of lignin is acceptable and can in certain applications be desirable.

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Wood chips can be used, however the high lignin content of wood creates a Zeoform material with relatively low strength. Effective for insulation products but not structural products. Chemical treatment of wood to separate the cellulose (as used in the paper industry) may prove a viable option.

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Yes, however this will require machinery to be adapted from other industries (eg paper, milling) or custom built to exploit the full potential of Zeoform. This represents an enormous opportunity globally for mechanical and process engineers, adding further substantial employment opportunities to the Zeoform proposition.

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Zeoform products require special equipment to mould or form the raw material– either converted from related industries (eg paper, wood processing, fabrication, CNC), or purpose built. Variables may include size and shape of products, design, special features, quantity, manual or automated, etc.

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Zeoform comprises a broad range of materials with a unique set of properties that can be engineered to satisfy a diverse range of technical, commercial and market requirements – like other raw materials such as plastics, composites and metal alloys.

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Zeoform should generally be treated like wood if left outside for extended periods. Unprotected / uncoated Zeoform will eventually absorb water or humidity and soften. Sunlight is a minor factor in biodegradability – in fact Zeoform will fade but not break down in extreme sun conditions. Under laboratory conditions, water/moisture & enzymes are the primary degrading influences. In ideal natural conditions, a CHAIR made from Zeoform could fully biodegrade in under 12 months.

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The cost of producing raw Zeoform depends on a number of variables, such as source and quality of feedstock, quantity produced, energy source/cost, labour cost, equipment, automation, etc – as well as other variables for special applications. Initial testing in our R&D facility indicate that Zeoform can be produced for between $1.50/kg ($3.30/lb) – $25/kg ($55/lb).

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