Uses and benefits of expanding foam insulation

Expanding foam insulation is an increasingly popular method across many different fields, including both industrial applications and packaging materials. The extraordinary thermal and protective characteristics of some expanding foam options (including those made from EPS and EPP), as well as their lightweight capacities, make it stand out among other alternatives.


We examine expanding foam insulation and the benefits of this method. 


What is expanding foam insulation?


Expanding foam insulation consists of an insulation method that, using different types of expanding foam materials, helps filling gaps or generating insulation and/or protective layers.


Expanded foam insulation can be made from different materials, including EPS (expanded polystyrene) and EPP (expanded polypropylene). Both these materials present exceptional attributes as foam components, as they offer great thermal insulation, shock absorption and are extremely lightweight.


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Uses and applications of expanding foam insulation in the industry


Appliances protective packaging. Expanding foam allows the generation of customized packaging solutions, as this material molds easily around goods and adapts to curves and notches. It is thus one of the preferred packaging solutions for fragile products (even glass, ceramic or polished wood) or products that present complex forms.


Expanding foam made of EPS and EPP is also extremely lightweight: both materials are 98% air and just 2% matter, generating packaging that helps decrease transportation costs. 


EPS and EPP as foam components also provide great protection for appliances packaging. This type of expanded foam packaging is usually the best option for the transportation of industrial, pharmaceutical, and electronic products that require total protection during the distribution cycle. 


EPS fits easily into production lines, adapting to diverse production systems and presenting a high versatility. It has also become one of the most sustainable materials for protective packaging, as it’s 100% recyclable and presents a low carbon footprint. The possibility of reusing EPP also makes this a sustainable option for appliances packaging. 


Construction and HVAC: because of its remarkable features, expanding foam insulation made of EPS is also frequently used for walls, foundations, and roofing in buildings, as well as other infrastructures such as roads, bridges, or railway lines. In such a context, EPS acts as extremely lightweight filling materials that provide prime insulation, moist repelling, and great air-sealing properties, while also facilitating drainage.


This material for expanding foam insulation is also appreciated for its long-standing capacities, meaning EPS doesn’t decompose or deteriorate during long periods compared to other insulation alternatives.

Expanded polypropylene is on the other hand a state-of-the-art solution for HVAC components that need expanding foam insulation. It is engineered into intricate shapes of casings and different technical parts for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment. 


Benefits and advantages of using expanding foam insulation in your company 


  • Protection: EPS and EPP expanding foam present excellent mechanical properties, such as shock absorption, that make it a great option for both packaging and technical parts. Its unique compressive resistance also makes it an ideal material for protective packaging, including fragile products such as industrial and household appliances: a well-designed expanding-foam packaging system will ensure the goods will arrive safely to their destination, avoiding unnecessary costs and an unfavorable image for the company. 
  • Customized forms: the ability to expand foam to adjust to any shape or size means that both packaging and HVACprojects can benefit from customized solutions. This also translates into economic savings and sustainability, as only the necessary materials are used and waste is minimized.
  • Low thermal conductivity: thermal insulation is among the most remarkable of EPS and EPP foam features. This material prevents heat and cold from passing, being a great ally for energy-efficient HVAC projects. At the same time, its thermal properties allow for extremely efficient protective packaging that preserves the contents inside from extreme outside temperatures.
  • Low water absorption and moisture protection: EPS and EPP provide powerful shielding against humidity and moisture, thus presenting great properties both for industrial projects and protective packaging solutions. Furthermore, its protective abilities are not challenged by humidity.
  • Exceptionally lightweight. Both EPS and EPP present a structure made of 98% air. This feature is relevant for industrial projects, as it allows for easier handling of pieces in HVAC projects while also greatly reducing transportation costs and generating lightweight structures. At the same time, these are the lightest packaging materials available today, which also translates into transport savings and increased sustainability (as less fuel consumption is needed). 
  • As a customized protective packaging solution, it can enhance branding efforts, as it provides a clean presentation while also protecting it and making sure it arrives safely to its destination.
  • Sustainability: expanding foam made of EPP and EPS has become the preferred materials across many industries as they help companies meet their sustainability goals. Both these materials help companies cut their emissions and waste, being 100% recyclable and are made of 98% air. EPP is reusable, a characteristic that makes it stand out among the diverse types of foam packaging generating an even more sustainable and economically efficient solution. Furthermore, these materials do not damage the ozone layer since they don’t use CFCs or HCFCs in the manufacturing process, a process that is also energy efficient. 


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At the same time, it’s now possible to use non-petro-sourced materials such as NEOPS®, an alternative to both EPP and EPS made entirely from plant sources.

Want to learn more about expanding foam insulation and its possibilities for both the construction and protective packaging industries? Download our free Technical manual about expanded foam in the industry

Expanding foam in the industry manual


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