Investigation of a novel insulation foam made from gypsum drywall waste


  • David R. Drake Washington State University, United States of America
  • Taiji Miyasaka Washington State University, United States of America



New technologies & materials, Fire protective insulation, Construction & demolition waste, Drywall recycling, Waste paint


Foamed plastic rigid insulation panels are effective for reducing building heating and cooling loads, with consequent reductions in energy use and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, plastic foam manufacturing and in-service use result in significant GHG emissions. In addition, plastic foams are flammable, and have been implicated in recent building fires. This paper describes proprietary mixtures and methods for producing drywall waste foam (DWF) panels, a carbon-neutral, fire-protective insulation made from gypsum drywall waste and other construction and demolition (C&D) waste materials. Gypsum drywall waste is inherently fire-protective and has relatively low thermal conductivity, but is a low-value commodity with few current reuse and recycling applications. DWF panels address two pressing issues in the built environment: decarbonization of building materials, and diversion of problematic C&D waste from landfills. Investigation of DWF panel engineering properties, including density, hardness, friability, burn-through time, and thermal conductivity are reported, with results compared to analogous commercially-available materials. Potential applications and areas for future investigation are also discussed.