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Technical Information for Styrofoam

Technical Details

Composition  STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation is manufactured in a continuous extrusion process and under tremendous pressure. This creates a rigid closed-cell polystyrene structure impervious to water penetration. Because of this closed-cell structure, STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation offers a unique combination of characteristics, including low thermal conductivity, high moisture resistance and high mechanical strength.

Surface Characteristics  STYROFOAM™ Brand products are recognized by their distinctive Blue* color. All STYROFOAM™ Brand products sold in Asia-Pacific have a smooth, homogeneous skin on both sides, except for PERIMATE* DI Insulation, and STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation, which is mostly for fabrication use.

Structural  STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation boards are available in a range of compressive strengths to suit different load-bearing requirements.

Fire  Information on aspects of fire performance of extruded polystyrene in building applications is given in BS 6203: 1991, ‘Fire characteristics and fire performance of expanded polystyrene materials used in building applications’.

STYROFOAM™ Brand products contain a flame-retardant additive to inhibit accidental ignition from a small fire source, but they are combustible and, if exposed to an intense fire, may burn rapidly.

In most countries, fire classifications are based on small-scale tests, which may not reflect the reaction of the material under actual fire conditions.

Polystyrene products will melt when brought into direct contact with high temperature heat sources. For STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation from Dow, the recommended maximum continuous operation temperature is 75°C. Do not expose the boards to flame or other ignition sources.

Water/Moisture  STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation is highly resistant to water absorption. Products are very resistant to the passage of water vapor and are unaffected by repeated freeze/thaw cycles.

Biological  STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation has low susceptibility to rot. Therefore, mould or fungal growth is minimized.

Chemical  STYROFOAM™ Brand products are resistant to common construction materials such as lime, cement, plaster, anhydrous gypsum, solvent-free bituminous compounds, water-based wood preservatives, as well as alcohols, acids and alkalis. Certain organic materials, such as solvent-based wood preservatives, coal tar and derivatives (creosote), paint thinners and common solvents, including acetone, ethyl acetate, petrol, toluene and white spirit, will attack STYROFOAM™ Brand products. This may result in softening, shrinkage and even dissolution, with a consequent loss of performance.

The use of solvent-free adhesive is recommended. Advice on compatibility with polystyrene foam should be sought from the adhesive manufacturers prior to application.

Sunlight  STYROFOAM™ Brand products should be protected from prolonged exposure to intense sunlight to prevent degradation of the surface of the board.

Durability  Properly installed, STYROFOAM™ Brand products have a service life comparable with the remainder of the building or structure.

Environmental  STYROFOAM™ Brand products are not biodegradable in the environment, and do not present an environmental hazard in the water/soil compartment.

Disposal  STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation products can be:  •Recycled mechanically •Recycled chemically •Used as land-fill (no harmful effects) •Incinerated under control to recover the energy content   Product Reusability  STYROFOAM™ Brand products can be reused, even after having been installed for decades.