Polystyrene foam and its production

Polystyrene foam today are actively used in everyday life and construction. This may be the case of household appliances, as well as dishes and insulation materials. Expanded polystyrene is considered one of the most common materials for insulation work. In this article we will talk about its production, characteristics and application.

Material safety

polystyrene foam

From a chemical point of view, this material is a gas-filled structure. The production of expanded polystyrene has been established for over 50 years, during which time the technology has undergone significant changes. The raw material in the manufacture of this insulator are polystyrene granules, which are the products of oil refining. Polystyrene foam is a natural material and at the same time the result of the chemical industry. Today, the content of styrene in the material does not exceed the norm of 0.002 milligram per cubic meter.Among other things, chlorine-containing flame retardants are replaced by the safest elements.

Production features

polystyrene foam backing

Polystyrene foam is manufactured by the method of expansion and subsequent sintering of polystyrene granules. In the production process, the granules are filled with pentane, which acts as a harmless condensate of natural gas. The granules are heated by steam. This leads to the fact that polystyrene balls increase in size 50 times. The inner space of each such ball is filled with air, which allows it to acquire the quality of elasticity. After these cells are glued under the influence of steam. In this way, a uniform, lightweight, compression-resistant material is obtained, which is able to retain its original dimensions.

Air characteristics inherent in polystyrene

polystyrene production

In the production process, polystyrene foam becomes a material that is 98 percent air. Most of the quality characteristics are due to its nature. No other cell gas is used in production. In order to hold the granules, chemical binders of the type of phenol, formaldehyde or acrylic resins are not used, only mechanical strength is used.

The use of foamed polystyrene

polystyrene foam trays

On the basis of GOST, the material is used for repair work when it is necessary to arrange the middle layer of load-bearing external walls. This type of insulation is used when installing ventilated facades and attic floors. Today it is quite actively used in the arrangement of flat roofing systems that rely on non-combustible bases. The substrate of polystyrene foam is most common, in addition, these canvases are used in water and electrical systems. This material is indispensable for warming and arranging basements, isolation of the basement and the foundation, which are in the zone of periodic or permanent exposure to groundwater. Extruded polystyrene foam is considered a universal insulation, which is used to improve the thermal performance of almost all elements of the building for any purpose.

The operational and technical advantages of polystyrene foam

polystyrene foam granules

This material is significantly different from mineral wool, as well as fibrous materials with its rigidity and strength.It is able to undergo quite impressive loads, while the quality characteristics of the material do not change. The canvas does not subside, in addition, the heat insulator has the maximum thermal performance, which are based on its structure. Due to the fact that this insulation has unique insulating characteristics, it can be used to reduce the cost of heating resources by 30 percent.

Plates from the made foam polystyrene do not absorb moisture. For this reason, they are quite often used for arranging underground structures that are constantly exposed to moisture. Due to the fact that the plastic cells are closed and isolated from each other, water cannot penetrate into them. The material can be used at a wide range of temperatures. It has almost no temperature limitations, which is why it can be used for utility and residential buildings that are operated under any conditions.

Duration of life

extruded polystyrene foam

The use of heat insulating plates made of foamed polystyrene today is extremely common in the field of insulating external walls.This is due to the fact that they are excellent in resisting frost. At the same time, the structure of the plates is not disturbed at all; they can undergo up to 120 cycles of periodic freezing and thawing. In addition, the polystyrene foam granules do not change their linear dimensions, and the material itself can last for 60 years without requiring replacement or repair.

In addition to its main characteristics, polystyrene foam improves soundproofing characteristics. The canvases of this material are also distinguished by the fact that they remain inert to the effects of a number of aggressive chemicals like salt solutions, acids, alcohols and dyes. In this case, the structure of the material will not be damaged, as when exposed to bleach, aerated concrete, as well as paint and plaster. The material is completely inert and is not exposed to biological effects, as well as rotting. The production of polystyrene foam provides plates that can be used in almost all conditions.

Technological advantages

polystyrene foam plates

The described material combines strength and lack of brittleness, in addition, it has a small weight, which provides advantages during its installation.Expanded polystyrene is easy enough to handle, it will be enough to use a hand saw or a regular knife. The working surface of such tools can be easily sawed.

Quite often, when carrying out construction work, the weight of the material is taken into account, since it can put additional strain on the foundation of the building. Lightweight polystyrene foam plates do not have this disadvantage. This not only simplifies the work, but does not imply the strengthening and strengthening of the foundation, if the work is carried out in the area of ​​the facade. During construction, it will not be necessary to think about building a strong foundation foundation. If the plates are used in tandem with a layer of plaster, they will slightly increase the outer perimeter of the building, which indicates that it is not necessary to carry out work to expand the roofing system. After all, it is very time consuming and costly.


You can work with expanded polystyrene without using special protective equipment. This is due to the fact that the material does not cause irritation, redness on the skin, allergic or any other painful reactions.There will be no master and eczema, as well as damage to the respiratory tract and eyes.

Material disadvantages

Like everything else, polystyrene foam has its drawbacks, one of which is expressed in the fact that it cannot be used to insulate structures made of wood. This indicates that the material is prohibited to use when warming walls from a bar or log. This is due to the fact that polystyrene foam will interfere with natural air circulation. If such material is used in tandem with wood, the latter will eventually become covered with condensate and will rot, which will certainly lead to the onset of destruction processes, as well as the development of harmful bacteria. Such phenomena with time will certainly destroy wood, which will fail before the allotted time.

Another negative feature of expanded polystyrene is that it can not be equipped with roofing systems that have rafters made of wood.

The need for sun protection

Do not use polystyrene foam in the event that its surface can be exposed to direct sunlight.What is the reason for this? The material under the influence of ultraviolet radiation and X-rays, as well as significant temperature may be destroyed. If you use expanded polystyrene as an external insulation layer for walls, then you will definitely need to protect it with plaster, which is applied to a special reinforcing mesh. This, of course, increases the cost of the work. Over the insulating material can be applied to the usual paint. This technology will not allow to get an interesting solution for the facade, but it will be a profitable and effective approach to the insulation and repair work.

This material can not be used in the arrangement of well-type insulation system. It is permissible to fix any kind of insulation after a vapor barrier. This indicates that, first of all, it will be necessary to fix the vapor barrier and only then proceed to the fastening of the insulation layer.


The described material is used today in many areas, among which there are industrial and domestic sphere. Trays are also made of it, disposable tableware and some parts of equipment are made of expanded polystyrene.Because of this, this material has gained the most popularity among all the others, because everything else is also safe for human and animal health.

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