Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is an energy-efficient and cost-effective insulation material and building solution for architects, building and construction specifiers.
In this blog, we cover a few facts about EPS to help specifiers learn more about its properties compared to alternative insulating materials.
Chemical inertion and non-toxicity
EPS is non-toxic, chemically inert, non-irritant and odourless. It is entirely safe for use across construction applications and minimises health and safety concerns on-site from usually handling toxic insulation materials such as mineral wool with additional PPE equipment.
EPS does not leak or contaminate surrounding soil and groundwater when buried in the ground, meaning EPS is also ideal in groundwork and subterranean applications. It provides no nutrient attraction to insects, vermin, fungi or bacteria, keeping its structure intact.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) manufactured by the Isowall Group is fast becoming recognized as the insulation material of choice by specifiers of “Bills of Quantities”. This comes largely as a result of our technical knowledge backed up by years of experience in the building and construction industry.
EPS is not affected by humidity, moisture and water. It is resistant to fresh water, brine, most vegetable oils and mineral acids with few exceptions. When fully submerged, it will have a negligible increase in weight depending on the density of EPS specified.
The closed cell structure of EPS limits water absorption to minimal levels, keeping its mechanical and thermal properties intact with a performance notably superior to other foamed plastic materials in water and marine environments.
Fire safety properties
EPS is a combustible material like many other insulation materials. However, for fire safety applications, flame retardant grade polystyrene (FR Grade) can be employed in all densities. A fire retardant additive is added to inhibit the early stages of fire development and ignition.
The ‘FR’ grades are treated with a fire retardant to cause the material to shrink away from a source of ignition without burning if exposed for a short period. It will only burn if kept in contact with the flame for a longer period. EPS can withstand a limited exposure maximum temperature of 110 degrees Celsius.
The fire safety properties of EPS insulation should be calculated in conjunction with the other materials used in construction, and follow the SABS 0177 guidelines for surface fire.
Isowall produces Isolite range of EPS products. View here more properties of our Isolite EPS.
The Isowall Group has been manufacturing and distributing Isolite Block Moulded EPS since 1985, and Isolite Shape Moulded EPS since 1992. Isolite EPS products are used primarily for insulation, lightweight fillers and semi-rigid cushioning.