Foamed polyethylene foam – a universal heat insulator: characteristics and properties

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In this article, you will learn about the production of polyethylene foam. We will tell you about the differences in grades and density, as well as about the widest scope of this material. The article provides different ways to use polyethylene foam with a description of its useful properties and disadvantages.

Foamed polyethylene foam is a universal heat insulator. Characteristics and properties

The development of industry in recent years has given us many new materials that have been created from well-known raw materials. Thus, polyethylene (PE), which is known for its absolute hydrophobicity and a high degree of tensile strength (with high linear elongation), also acted as a raw material. It was mixed, diffused, ground, melted, extruded and foamed in order to develop certain properties. Foaming molten PE (i.e. mixing with air) has given the world a new type of material – polyethylene foam (PPE).

The main property of polyethylene foam

This material is produced in polymer factories along with other products. The liquid PE melt is saturated with air under pressure and extruded. The following factors influence the properties of the final product:

  1. The relative volume of air in the PES. The higher this indicator, the better the thermal insulation properties, but the lower the strength and elasticity. Such material has a volumetric weight of 20-300 kg / m3.
  2. Feedstock grade – PE. This indicator contains the tensile strength, since there are brands that are more and less durable. After foaming, the strength turns into elasticity due to the restructuring of the crystal lattice. Accordingly, in PPE, polyethylene works in different ways. It also differs in density – from 300 to 700 kg / m3.

Foamed polyethylene foam is a universal heat insulator. Characteristics and properties

Having a detailed understanding of the purpose of the layer, it is not difficult to choose the appropriate product made of polyethylene foam, especially since the material is produced target. This means that the title mentions the area of ​​work and it is almost impossible to make a mistake. Undoubtedly, PPE deserves the title of a combined material, since it simultaneously provides noise, vibration, hydro, steam and thermal insulation. However, by adjusting its qualitative composition, technologists obtain material with certain priority properties..

Purpose of polyethylene foam

The ease of adjusting the composition of the mixture made it possible to create a large range of polyethylene foam products, which has its own purpose in each specific case.

PPE for compaction and shock absorption

The purpose of the material provides for developed elasticity, which means a high content of raw materials (PE). Various types of gaskets are made from it, including technical ones, and shock-absorbing layers are created in concrete and road structures. PPE of the highest grades 500-700 can be found:

  1. In gaskets of technological equipment.
  2. In compensation, deformation and temperature gaskets of cast walls.
  3. In weatherproof information media (advertising).

This technical material is relatively expensive for private use..

Polyethylene foam for general use and sound insulation

This type of PPE has average indicators for both parameters – density and grade of raw materials, that is, it optimally combines all properties. With a volumetric weight of 250-500 kg / m3 it is suitable for use in the following products:

  1. All kinds of pads in contact with the skin – prostheses, protection, helmets, etc..
  2. Filler for upholstered (office) furniture.
  3. Soundproofing of all moving objects – aircraft, cars, etc..
  4. Noise insulation during construction work – under the screed, under the floor covering, on the walls, ceiling, ventilation boxes, etc..
  5. Sports and tourist rugs (foam), cushion, tatami.
  6. Seal in packaging, for windows and doors and much more.

Foamed polyethylene foam is a universal heat insulator. Characteristics and properties

Such material is optimal not only in terms of the balance of properties, but also in terms of price..

Polyethylene foam for thermal insulation

Light and ultra-light grades PPE with a density of 20 to 250 kg / m3 provide good thermal insulation and are absolutely indifferent to condensation. This invaluable property makes this material literally irreplaceable in dew point areas, thermal barriers (especially thin metal ones), namely:

  1. Pipe sleeves.
  2. Insulation of roofing material – metal, slate, profile, etc. – by pasting from the inside.
  3. Pasting the walls from the inside for the purpose of steam and thermal insulation.
  4. Thermal insulation of formwork for concreting in winter.
  5. Filler in doors and partitions, etc..

Foamed polyethylene foam is a universal heat insulator. Characteristics and properties

The lightness of the material allows it to be widely used in aviation, in the manufacture of aircraft models, and on the water – lifebuoys and mats for learning to swim.

PES with combined properties

This category includes products that are subject to increased requirements. Accordingly, there is a need to combine PPE with additional material:

  1. Foil underlays for underfloor heating. Manufactured from material with a density of 400-500 kg / m3, which does not shrink under the screed. Thermal insulation properties are reinforced with a thin reflective foil.
  2. Anti-slip pool mats and sports flooring. General purpose polyethylene foam has a protective layer that improves traction and increases wear resistance.
  3. Door and furniture upholstery. On PPE, a finishing layer is glued or fused – fabric, vinyl leather, dermantin, etc., which increases the decorative and operational properties.
  4. Products that use the material’s ability to hold its shape. Product-specific packaging (electronics), toys, disposable shoes.

Foamed polyethylene foam is a universal heat insulator. Characteristics and properties

This is not a complete list of areas of application for this material. Of the shortcomings for all types of PES, one common one should be noted – deformation upon heating. Yes, he is afraid of temperatures over + 80 ° C, he can melt and at the same time release a gas hazardous to health. Consider this when choosing a material.

Heat wallpaper

The most interesting of the described products is an ultrathin heat-vapor insulator. It is a roll-to-roll PPE designed for indoor application. It can be with or without a finishing pattern (intermediate layer). This type of material is popularly called insulating wallpaper..

Foamed polyethylene foam is a universal heat insulator. Characteristics and properties

Indeed, the surface under such a canvas becomes much more pleasant to the touch and warmer. It is glued like ordinary wallpaper and allows itself to be painted, decorated with acrylic fillers and pasted over with heavy non-woven and vinyl wallpaper.

The nuance of their use lies in the fact that they do not let heat through to warm up the wall. Accordingly, the wall does not release the accumulated steam in winter and will freeze through to a great depth. Therefore, gluing such wallpaper to an uninsulated wall of a panel house will lead to a shift of the dew point literally into the room. This effect can only be avoided on walls insulated from the outside..

Prices for polyethylene foam in rolls

Product Roll size, mm Characteristic Price, cu e.
“Izokom” 1000x10000x1 Usual 2
“Plenex” 1500x25000x5 Usual 42
“PORILEX” 1250x50000x4 Usual 15.5
“Polyphom” 1200x5000x8 Usual 17.5
“Alufom AL-2” 1000x25000x2 Foil 20
PPI-P 3-105-50 1050x50000x3 Foil 14.5
PenoHome 1200x15000x10 Foil sixteen
“RufIzol MP 10” 1200х15000х3 foil 15.5

The use of foamed polyethylene is justified in most cases, since it has the largest number of combined functions. It is often used as a damper for a floating floor or just as a comfortable mattress. We can safely assume that soon we will see many more new materials based on it..

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