Polystyrene is a synthetic polymer made from the monomer styrene. Styrene is derived from benzene and ethylene which are both petroleum products. Polystyrene can be either a solid or a foam. It is a colorless, transparent thermoplastic that is used to make foam board or bead board insulation.
Extruded polystyrene (XPS) is similar to expanded polystyrene (EPS) in many ways. Although each has its differences. Polystyrene foams are good thermal insulators and are often times used as building insulation materials, such as in insulating concrete forms. Extruded polystyrene is composed of small plastic beads that are fused together.
The manufacturing process begins with polystyrene resin beads or granules are fed into an extruder, where they are heated at very high temperatures until molten. Then, various additives are added to the molten mixture. Some of those additives may be a coloring agent. Polystyrene foam board is usually colored in a variety of colors to identify it as a particular brand.
A blowing agent is usually added to enable the material to expand after the extrusion process. Using controlled heat and pressure, the mixture is then forced through a die, then allowed to cool and expand into the desired shape. The resulting foam board is then trimmed to the final product dimensions.
- Strength. Extruded polystyrene is a rigid material with a very high compressive strength. The product’s closed-cell cross section contributes to its impressive strength and insulating properties. Products are available in a range of compressive strengths to meet different applications. Extruded polystyrene foam board can be manufactured up to 100 psi or more.
- Inhibits growth of biological air contaminants. Water absorption promotes the growth of many organisms such as mold, mildew, and fungi. XPS foam board is water resistant and can prevent the growth of unwanted organisms. This makes it ideal for the roofing industry.
- Durability. It will not rot or decompose over time because of its durability. It is resistant to microorganisms in the soil and it isn’t attractive to rats and other animals as a source of food. It typically has a lifespan of up to 50 years.
- Size and density. XPS can be manufactured with or without plastic facings. It is most often available only in standard dimensions and in sheet form, with foam board typically manufactured in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets.
- Affordability. XPS foam board is very affordable and is one of the most economical of the rigid foam board options on the market. For example, a one-inch thick XPS foam board costs about $0.47 per square foot on average.
- Energy efficiency. Extruded Polystyrene is an energy-efficient building material. Over the lifetime of a building insulated with XPS foam board, a lot more energy is saved compared to the energy used during the manufacturing process.
- Sustainability. Since polystyrene resin is used in manufacturing XPS foam board, the foam board can be melted down and reused to produce new XPS insulation.
- Many uses. Extruded polystyrene and eps foam board have many uses such as thermal insulation and are used in many insulation products and fiberglass products.
Do many firms require the services of a distributor that works with extruded plastic? More than you might think! Everyone from window manufacturers to adhesives producers use the types of extrusions produced by Plastic Extrusion Technologies.
With 100 years of experience in the plastic manufacturing industry, you can rely on Plastic Extrusion to produce the quality products that will satisfy your every need.
Contact us for more information on plastic extrusion sizes, types, warranties or to request a quote today. You’ll be happy you did!