Expanded Polytyrene is 98% air. Encapsulated air is throughly proven to be the most important ingredient in effective thermal insulation.
Expanded polystyrene is actually pretty cool stuff!
When you see a product made of EPS, the natural perception is that it is a solid thing. In reality it is actually mostly air.
Expanded polystyrene starts as tiny granules of styrene which are dissolved and blown with steam, expanding the granules into bubbles which can then be pressure-formed into objects in special moulds. The bubbles and the objects made from them consist of 2% styrene and 98% air. That’s right, 98% air.
The European Union Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMPS) organisation commissioned a campaign to re-image EPS and create a more accurate perception of what EPS is and what it can do. The campaign identified EPS under a new name – AIRPOP, which describes what it mainly consists of, and also a way to understand its physical characteristics as – ‘ENGINEERED AIR’.
As a building product, it is particularly interesting when used on site as concrete formwork. The visible EPS formwork is actually predominantly air! Think about it, concrete formed by Air.
EPS has undergone widespread research and development since it was first produced, and tested extensively to determine its characteristics and performance. EPS is an inert material that is not composed of any substances toxic to humans or the environment. Used and disposed of responsibly, EPS is an extremely effective construction material that has uses such as void-forming, geo-forming, insulation, permanent and removable concrete formwork, and exterior plastering finishing and detail substrates.
Allied with concrete as a comprehensive forming medium, it has many benefits such as facilitating complex structural shapes, permanent insulation that enhances the thermal properties of concrete, and providing extra protection to structures exposed to extreme forces.
For detail on the characteristics and many uses of EPS, refer to the website links for EUMEPS and AIRPOP on this page.
Some Information about Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)