Spray Foam Insulation

Blog, Science / Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

You may not have heard of spray foam insulation, but it’s a fascinating material that has a huge number of various properties. It’s extremely unique in the insulation world because it undergoes an incredibly fast chemical reaction as it’s applied.

What is Insulation?

To insulate means to prevent the movement of heat, be it cold or hot. You can also get electrical insulation, which prevents the movement of electricity or sound insulation, which prevents sound from escaping or entering a space. Insulation, therefore, is a material or product that protects a building, an object (like a travel mug), a window or anything else! It prevents heat from being lost, or from something cold warming up. You can get insulated lunchboxes that keep your food chilled or insulated mugs that prevent the heat of your morning coffee being lost while you travel to work.

There are hundreds of different materials that have insulating properties. Every single kind of material has some kind of insulating property, but it’s effectiveness varies. Some things offer such low insulation, that they’re not considered insulators. Some that you might find around your house include newspaper, cardboard, water, foam, polystyrene, wool, wood and more. Just think about the clothes you’re wearing. They’re intended to keep you body from losing heat and protecting you from the cold. Cotton, wool and polyester have insulating properties that are fairly effective.

A Spray Insulation?

You now know that insulation can come in hundreds of different forms and textures with thousands of different uses. Spray foam insulation is just one of those forms and it has its own set of applications where using cotton, newspaper or polystyrene simply wouldn’t work!

As the name suggests, this kind of insulation comes in the form of a spray, making it really easy to apply to large areas.

Spraying insulation

How it works

Sprayfoam insulation starts as a liquid. It’s also sometimes called spray polyurethane foam (SPF) because it’s made of polyurethane molecule chains. It’s made by mixing together polyol and isocyanate resin in a 1:1 ratio to create a substance that rapidly expands when it comes into contact with a surface.

There are many varieties of spray foam insultation from closed cell to open and they vary in different densities. This means they have a range of different air pockets in the material.

The sprayfoam is sprayed onto the surface that wants to be insulated. Here, it undergoes an incredibly fast chemical reaction, expanding in size and becoming as hard as concrete.

Once it’s set (which takes minutes!), its composition contains millions of tiny air pockets. These prevent the movement of air through the material, which in turn prevents conduction and convection from occurring. It keeps heat from being lost, or cold from entering.

What sprayfoam is used for

Spray foam has hundreds of applications, but most commonly it’s used to protect buildings and other properties, either domestic (homes) or commercial (buildings used in business, such as offices, car parks and warehouses).

As well as being an insulator, spray foam has other properties, such as being waterproof and setting as hard as concrete. This means that it’s really useful for insulating older buildings. Not only does it insulate the property, it also provides structural support and can protect against weathering and leaks.

If you want to know more about spray foam insulation, you can visit here, particularly if you’re looking for a cost-effective and efficient way to insulate your property.