What is expanded polyurethane foam and what is it used for?
Expanded polyurethane foam is one of the main materials currently used in various branches, such as construction of houses, buildings, boats or ships, airplanes, among others.
To understand what this material consists of and how it works, we will begin by describing its composition.
The polyurethane It is a substance that results from the combination of the “isocyanate” and the “polyol”, through a chemical reaction. This combination allows the material to be stretched, crushed or scratched and not lose its constitution, which makes polyurethane a fairly resistant material, almost indestructible. The polyurethane can be obtained in liquid, foam or solid form.
In the case of foam, it is applied in a liquid state and after its application it expands until it reaches its definitive solid state.
What is expanded polyurethane foam used for?
This material is the main insulation in the construction industry. Thanks to its properties, it is used as thermal insulation, water-repellent insulation and as an anti-humidity material.
The Polyurethane foam (EDP) is applied to ceilings and walls to eliminate the transmission of heat or cold (thermal bridge). Additionally, the EDP strengthens the structure, extending the life of roofs and walls from 10 to 15 years.
All this generates great savings both in heating and cooling, as well as in maintenance.
Polyurethane foam is an excellent barrier against vapor and air, it also has excellent resistance to extreme temperatures and strong winds.
water repellent insulation
The Polyurethane foam, has a closed molecular structure, which makes it a water resistant material. This property makes it the perfect protector for any type of structure, even for constructions with imperfections or irregular design. In this way, the polyurethane foam also provides excellent protection against corrosion and leaks.
Of course, it also works as a moisture barrier.
Other uses of polyurethane foam
When used inside walls, polyurethane foam is used to increase the strength and resistance of wood frames, it is also very useful to prevent commercial construction ceilings from lifting.
When the foam is applied on roofs, it is also sought to increase resistance to abrasion and it is very useful when it is necessary to build a drainage.
It is also used in the home to repair irregularities in the surfaces of walls and to insulate and repair PVC pipes.
Expanded polyurethane foam is applied in:
- insulation panels
- Commercial and Residential Insulation: in walls, ceilings, attics and basements
- Industrial insulation: Silos, Tanks, Cold rooms, Refrigerators, Buildings with temperature control
- Ships, Boats, Floating Docks
- Airplanes: to increase the structural strength of the wings
Advantages of expanded polyurethane foam
- The EDP is friendly to the environment, it does not damage the ozone. It contributes to energy savings, thus helping to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and consequently global warming.
- Polyurethane foam strengthens the structure to which it is applied, making it more resistant to storms, strong winds and vibrations.
- It seals the structure in such a way that it reduces external noise.
- It maintains its properties and physical characteristics over time. There have been cases of more than 30 years of durability of the EDP, without any type of wear.
- Reduces the filtration of air pollutants and gases from the outside.
- Decreases the growth of mold and bacteria within the structure.
- With the use of the EDP, the cost of heating and cooling the internal areas of the building is considerably reduced. Additionally, by having a structure strengthened by the EDP, maintenance costs are also reduced. On the other hand, the application of the EDP does not require much space, thus the construction cost is minimized.
- EDP adheres excellently to all materials used in construction. It does not require additional adhesives or any fastening system or method.
- According to regulations in force in the United States and Europe, EDP is considered a self-extinguishing material, thanks to its properties.
- It performs the functions of insulation and waterproofing at the same time.
- It is highly resistant to drinking water, rain water, sea water, acids, diluted alkaline solutions, gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, mineral oil, exhaust gases and SO2.
- It is also resistant to the action of insects and rodents.
- EDP is a material that is easy to transport, it is not bulky and does not require large storage.
How to use expanded polyurethane foam?
For small or home applications, EDP can be purchased in aerosol cans. A very practical and easy to handle presentation. It is recommended for small-scale jobs.
When applying the foam, just follow the simple steps described below:
- The surfaces on which the foam will be applied must be free of dust, grease and moisture.
- It is recommended to moisten the surface a little before applying the foam, to improve foaming and speed up the reaction.
- The application nozzle must be placed on the container and shake it several times, before using the foam.
- The EDP must be applied with the container inverted and in ventilated areas.
- The foam dose is controlled by pressure on the spray valve.
- Since the foam doubles its volume when it expands, it is recommended to apply only the quantity of the product, according to the space or surface to be worked on. If it is to fill cracks or joints, only half of the space to be covered should be filled.
- Once the foam is used, it must be moistened to obtain a better result.
- In the event that the amount of EDP is exceeded, it can be easily cut away to achieve a clean and level surface.
- Once dry, the EDP can be sanded and painted to obtain a perfect finish.
Presentations of expanded polyurethane foam
For small or home applications, EDP can be purchased in aerosol cans. A very practical and easy to handle presentation. Of course, its content is little, so it is recommended for small-scale jobs.
For large-scale jobs, the EDP is applied through hoses connected to a larger spray mechanism, which is applied to the structure or surface to be protected.
Safety measures when working with polyurethane foam
Polyurethane foam is a very safe work material when the safety standards that are usually indicated on the packaging are met. It is very important that personal protection measures are taken while the PDE is being applied.
Protective clothing or panties, solvent-resistant gloves, and a protective mask for the nose and mouth should be used.
If there is skin contact with the EDP, the affected area should be washed immediately to avoid irritation.
In the current market, there is no insulation material that equals expanded polyurethane foam in quality, properties, benefits and ease of application.
To obtain a structure or construction with quality protection and durability, nothing better than the expanded EDP.