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Title: Towards sustainable flooring systems : an investigation of novel materials
Author: Carter, Dianne Tracy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2675 6172
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2008
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The aim of this project was to explore sustainability within the flooring industry and in particular from the perspective of InterfaceFLOR, a company with a stated mission to become fully sustainable by 2020. This general aim has been met with specific outcomes that contribute incrementally to existing activities and more radically to the future portfolio of InterfaceFLOR. Analysis of the flooring industry, considering both the supplier and user perspectives, showed that a variety of requirements are placed on a floor by different consumers in different contexts. This has resulted in a diverse range of flooring materials being produced that fulfil these demands in different ways. Further, it has been shown that revolutionary concepts, considered as part of this project, may be accepted by consumers. A detailed analysis of the current processing engineering used by InterfaceFLOR in manufacturing carpet backing material was undertaken, with the aim of facilitating the introduction of recycled feedstock. The analysis identified faults with the existing process and suitable modifications enabled the process to be improved and the more environmentally sustainable recycled feedstock to be introduced subsequently. Since incremental changes alone will only create a more sustainable process, but will not provide a fully sustainable product, the emphasis of the work then switched to the development of revolutionary innovations concepts. . During the course of this project InterfaceFLOR has established an 'Innovations Network'- a group of internal and external experts that has in turn facilitated the investigation of a number of innovative projects. The second half of this thesis describes a proposal and feasibility study of a range of innovative flooring products. This then led to the investigation of a novel resin system (epoxidised linseed oil), based on a renewable material. The investigation of the resin material has identified the potential use of proxy tests to screen a group of similar flooring materials. The use of proxy tests means that less material is needed and there is the possibility of exploring a greater amount of processing variations in an efficient way. The novel material was shown to perform adequately as a flooring product (compared to existing products) in an investigation which used several analysis techniques, the results of which correlated well with present standard flooring tests and visual assessment methods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Eng.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available