Within the last decade we observe an extremely dynamic development in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. Market leading companies are creating new trends in the engineering of HVAC appliances. New solutions and materials come to the scene and improve the performance and aesthetics of the devices. Among them Expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam which became to be widely used to insulate critical components in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) systems.
Where can EPP be applied?
The expanded polypropylene foam has a wide range of applications in thermo-hydraulics. It can serve as duct and pipe insulation in ventilation systems. It can also insulate water heaters, pumps, filters and motors, reducing heat loss and maintaining the temperature. Proper insulation translates into the fact that less energy is lost within the system.
What advantages make the material appropriate for HVAC applications?
As mentioned outstanding thermal insulation properties are the main advantage of the material. It remains stable over a wide temperature range. Besides EPP is resistant to water and moisture, boosting the water absorption level of only from 0.01 to 0.03%, therefore it can be used in the filters of water treatment devices.
In addition, it is not conducive to the occurrence of mold, fungi, and rust. This set of features makes EPP widely used as a waterproofing material.
Expanded polypropylene is famous for its very high strength-to-weight ratio. This makes it ideal for creating containers, boxes, all kinds of packaging, and appliance housings. Even large-sized components made of EPP weigh only a few kilograms. Making a product from this material increases its usability and improves performance.
Its exceptional load-bearing quality helps reduce weight and volumes which is an essential quality in all wall-mounted systems, for instance in air conditioning and ventilation. The lightweight of EPP components facilitates the installation of the devices making them user-friendly. Thanks to the material’s durability valuable system components such as filters, fans, ducts, pumps and pipes are protected against mechanical damage.
EPP foam can be customized to match various designs
Aside from its outstanding physical properties, EPP is the designers’ preferred material as it can be aesthetically customized. Unlike many alternative materials like metals, the plastic foam can be easily molded into components of various shapes and colors to match different project requirements for industrial design.
A large number of colors of the EPP raw material allows designing HVAC products in line even with the most sophisticated product strategies. EPP components can be white, black, silver, blue, gray, orange, green, red or a mixture of these colors.
Moreover, thanks to modern processing technologies expanded polypropylene can acquire a high surface quality. The surface texture of EPP components for HVACR can be designed to decorate the appliance eliminating the need of any additional covers. In Knauf Industries we developed an original palette of 36 textures in 4 lines corresponding to the latest trends in industrial design.
For our customers from the HVAC industry, it has become an attractive alternative to traditional foam parts, which additionally require a decorative finish.
EPP thanks to its versatility in design and applications can be successfully housing components in solar heating, refrigerating, cooling, ventilating and air-conditioning systems.
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What else makes expanded polypropylene the material of choice for HVACR companies?
EPP is 100% sustainable and recyclable
Unlike some other types of plastics, EPP is entirely recyclable. EPP can be reheated and reused in the molding process for different applications without any structural damage to the core material.
The HVACR industry widens the scope of use of EPP components in manufacturing because they are more environmentally friendly than other materials also reducing costs and improving overall process efficiency.
In conclusion, the exceptional properties of Expanded Polypropylene, such as: lightness and strength, design versatility, elasticity make this thermoplastic ideal for the thermal insulation and protection of HVAC components.
EPP foam is a fully recyclable modern material contributing to energy-saving and thus to the reduction of environmental footprint while maintaining high thermal insulating performance.