What is EPS?
Expanded BeadsEPS (Expanded Polystyrene) is a man made material that is produced from a polymer resin in bead form. The beads ranging in size from 0.5 to 1.3mm contain an expansion agent. In the first step of a two step process, the beads are expanded and stabilized using a combination of steam, vacuum and air. Most of the expansion agent content is replaced with air in this step.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) isn’t just foam insulation; it’s an innovative building material that lends to the design and structural integrity of many building products. EPS is non-hygroscopic and does not readily absorb moisture from the atmosphere. EPS does not rot or decay and does not provide nutrient value for insects, parasites or animal and plant life. As well EPS insulation is able to withstand temperature cycling assuring long-term performance.
Important EPS characteristics:
Density (kg/m³) 15 – 50 (without redensification)
Melting point (°C) > 100
Service temperature (°C) 70 – 80 (maximum continuos use temperature)
Crush resistance (N/mm²) 0,06 – 0,25
Tensile strength (N/mm²) 0,1 – 0,5
Chemical resistance In general, EPS reacts to chemicals like pure polystyrene. EPS is unsusceptible to salt solutions, leaches, non-oxidizing acids, and alcohols. EPS is not resistant to gasoline, sulfuric acid and organic solvents, such as paint thinner, some paints, and adhesives.
EPS is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam. One cubic meter of this material weighs only about 10 kilograms. EPS is an excellent insulator against heat and cold: A 1 cm thick layer of styropor exhibits roughly the same insulation as 66 cm of reinforced concrete. Furthermore EPS distinguishes itself through high pressure resistance and shock absorption, as well as insensitivity to moisture. Characteristics of EPS are mainly determined by the material’s density; different varieties are available. Relatively low prices and easy handling are of special interest to users.
The application of EPS offers environmental advantages: EPS is non-toxic and inert. Fungi and microorganisms do not attack the material. EPS’ low weight saves transportation costs, in other words fuel. The good protective properties and impact strength exhibited by EPS packaging reduce damage to packaged goods – and consequently, additional raw material consumption. EPS insulation lowers energy consumption and reduces CO2 emissions. Thermal insulation is logical from both an economical and environmental standpoint: EPS insulation in Central Europe saves as much energy during the first half of the heating period as was required for its production. EPS is durable. Following use, it can be recycled and processed into new products.