EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) or as many know by The Dow Chemical Company’s trademarked name, STYROFOAM, is an extremely lightweight product that is made of expanded polystyrene beads. Originally discovered by Eduard Simon in 1839 in Germany by accident, EPS foam is more than 95% air and only about 5% plastic.
Small solid plastic particles of polystyrene are made from the monomer styrene. Polystyrene is normally a solid thermoplastic at room temperature that can be melted at a higher temperature and re-solidified for desired applications. The expanded version of polystyrene is about forty times the volume of the original polystyrene granule.
Uses of Polystyrene
Polystyrene foams are used for a variety of applications because of its excellent set of properties including good thermal insulation, good damping properties and being extremely light weight. From being used as building materials to white foam packaging, expanded polystyrene has a wide range of end-use applications. In fact, many surfboards now use EPS as the foam core.
Building and Construction
EPS is inert in nature and therefore does not result in any chemical reactions. Since it will not appeal to any pests, it can be used easily in the construction industry. It is also closed cell, so when used as a core material it will absorb little water and in return, not promote mold or rotting.
EPS is durable, strong as well as lightweight and can be used as insulated panel systems for facades, walls, roofs and floors in buildings, as flotation material in the construction of marinas and pontoons and as a lightweight fill in road and railway construction.
EPS has shock absorbing properties making it ideal for storing and transporting fragile items such as wines, chemicals, electronic equipment, and pharmaceutical products. Its thermal insulation and moisture resistant properties are perfect for packaging cooked food as well as perishable items such as seafood, fruit, and vegetables.
EPS can be used in the manufacture of sliders, model planes, and even surfboards because of its positive strength to weight ratio. The strength of EPS along with its shock absorbing properties makes it effective for use in children’s seats and cycling helmets. It is also compression resistant, meaning that EPS is ideal for stacking packaging goods. EPS also has applications in horticulture in seedling trays to promote aeration of the soil.
Why Is EPS Advantageous?
High thermal insulation
Resistant to Moisture
Versatile in strength
Easily laminated with epoxy resin
Manufactured into different shapes, sizes, and compression materials
Lightweight and portable