Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is a dual component insulation system. Spray foam insulation is also known as a polyurethane foam insulation. It is called polyurethane foam due to its chemical composition. Polyurethane is a polyol (alcohol hydroxyl group also known as the B-side or resin) which reacts with polymeric isocyanate (hardener also known as the A-side material or MDI) to produce a polyurethane bond or chain.
Polyurethanes were first developed in Germany in 1937 for military purposes to be applied to planes. It was not until the 1970’s that it was first used as a spray foam insulation in domestic and commercial applications. These early spray foam systems were chemical blown and closed cellular structure. They were predominantly used in commercial applications such as warehousing, refrigeration, and manufacturing.
There are many different types of foams such as polyurethane foam (foam rubber), XPS foam EPS foam (Board insulation), Polystyrene (polystyrene boards and beads), Pheonolic (moulding foam), and spray foam insulation (PUR). Spray foam insulation (PUR) is one of the only polyurethane systems which is produced on site. Other foams are produced in their final rigid state in the factory. Spray foam insulation is sent from the factory to the work site in liquid state. Spray foam insulation is produced from two components (Resin and MDI) in equal volume quantities using state of the art machinery. Because spray foam insulation is produced on site it has many advantages over other polyurethanes and traditional insulation products.
Spray foam insulations are formed in a 1:1 liquid ratio of Resin to MDI. When the two liquids are mixed they instantly react to form what is known as a creaming of the foam. The reaction is a rapid process taking 2-5 seconds from initial cream to cure depending on environmental factors such as humidity and temperatures. Biofoam spray foam insulations are all water blown systems. During the reaction a cellular structure is formed to make up the composition of the foam such as open-cell foam or closed-cell foam. In water blown systems the cells of the foam initially contain CO2. In Open-cell foams this CO2 is replaced gradually over a period of 24 hours with regular air from the environment. Chemical blown foams on the other hand are blown with the aid of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) which will be gradually released after the curing process which has a high global warming potential and is a toxin.
Open cell spray foam insulation’s cellular structure is as the name entails open. The easiest way to visualize this mentally is to imagine that there are thousands of tiny bubbles each with a pin hole in them which allows them to allow are flow through them and breathe. Breathable foams are primarily used for insulating domestic premises. Closed cell foams have a closed cellular structure, these foams are non breathable and generally used foam the thermal insulation of commercial properties such as warehouses and refrigeration units.
Spray foam insulations are known to many as the intelligent insulation systems due to their characteristics and performance. Spray foam insulation offer much more than thermal insulation properties. It also provide excellent acoustics, stable U-values, improved air-tightness which is achieved by their unique application process. As spray foam insulations are installed as a liquid they will expand into any cracks or crevices sealing them and eliminating / reducing leakage and air intrusion helping achieve lower air-tightness and provide a higher standard of living in any home. As spray foam insulation is a stable insulation system, it does not release any dust or particles into the air they are the insulation of choice for homes using air exchange units or ventilation systems. Spray foam insulation is a inert insulation system once installed providing a safe and ideal insulation system for people prone to allergies or asthma.
Spray Foam Insulation Guide
Open Cell Spray Foam Insulations Origins.
Open-cell foams were originally used in the packaging industry 20 years ago. It was not until 10 years later that they were used as spray foam insulation. It was not to long after their introduction to the markets that work began on the production of more green foams. One of the first green foams was soy based formulations. These were produced primarily from polyols from soy bean oil. This development of soy oil foams was driven by the North American demand for products to have a bio content and to contain American made products. However the use of soy was not seen as an ecologically sustainable resource to be used. Soy is a direct food product for human consumption and for use in animal feeds. Bio Foam Spray Insulation are proud to manufacture and supply the first tested and European certified bio-renewable, castor based, water blown, spray foam insulation system.
Soya polyol is produced from the oil of soy beans. Soy is a direct food source. The use of soy in non food products is unsustainable as it drives the price of soy bean higher and reduces availability for use in foods. Castor oils is a vegetable oil produced from cold pressing castor beans. Castor oil is not a food source which in turn makes it the ideal choice as a truly green and ecologically sustainable choice, along with the fact that castor beans unlike soy beans do not require irrigation for growing. It is a rapidly renewable resource.
The polyols in Biofoam’s are also sustainably sourced. We use polyester polyols rather than virgin polyols. Polyester polyols are polyols produced from the oils produced from recycling waste plastics. We also use polyols produced primarily from the shells of cashew nuts. It was and will continue to be the goal of Bio Foam Spray Insulation to produce and provide a product that is environmentally and ecologically sustainable with no compromise to performance. Our foams are the highest performing spray foam insulations available on the market. Our systems are tested to the highest standards and manufactured under ISO 9001:2008 quality assurance.
Buying spray foam insulation
If you are buying spray foam insulation always ensure that the contractor carrying out the works is a trained and certified installer. Check they carry adequate insurance. If you are nervous of a contractor do not hesitate in contacting the manufacturer or distributer whom trained them to insure they are adequately trained. Ensure you receive a detailed description of works from the contractor prior to commencement of works. If in doubt check them out. Prior to final sign off on works thoroughly inspect works carried out are completed as per your specification.
Low cost Spray Foam Insulation
Thermal bridging and spray foam insulation.
Every insulation product is different. Thermal bridging is calculated on individual cases using specific details such as around windows and doors. Thermal bridging is a comprehensive calculation which uses product specifications, not just thermal conductivity but also density and physical characteristics. For every insulation product these details will vary. Biofoam spray insulations have a full portfolio of PSI / thermal bridging calculations. These details are product specific and are not suitable for other insulation systems or spray foam systems as Biofoam spray foam insulation systems have a lower thermal conductivity and higher breathability than other spray foam systems.
Air tightness through Spray foam insulation.
Spray foam insulation is one of the only insulation systems which can contribute to improving the air tightness of a structure. This is aided by the unique characteristics of spray foam insulations. As spray foam insulation is installed in one continuous piece with no gaps, voids or joints it has no air leakage areas compared to board or loose fill insulations which have joints gaps and voids present throughout. Spray foam insulation can also be applied to many areas generally untouched by other insulations due to both its physical properties and its application technique. As spray foam insulation is applied as a rapidly expanding liquid which has a very high adhesion it can be installed into areas generally impossible to install insulation and areas where adequate fill of insulation would be impossible for alternative insulations. Structures that are insulated using Biofoam spray foam insulations continue to outperform any other insulation material.
Carbon Footprint of spray foam insulation
The carbon footprint of spray foam insulation is significantly lower than other insulation systems. As spray foam insulation is shipped in its liquid state it is a compact insulation system for transporting compared to other finished insulations e.g. 1 set of Biofoam 800 produces 38m3 of spray foam insulation in its cured state. A standard shipping container will transport 40 sets of Biofoam 800 which would produce a total of 1,520m3 of spray foam insulation. A standard shipping container has a cubic capacity of 67m3 this is the maximum cubic volume of loose fill or board insulation that can be transported per container. Biofoam spray insulation systems contain both renewable and sustainably sourced materials. Biofoam spray foam insulations are produced from castor oils it is a renewable resource, castor plants do not require irrigation for growing and have low energy consumption for harvesting. Our polyols used to manufacture our products are sourced in Europe and are produced from renewable products such as cashew nut shells and Aromatic Polyester Polyols from waste plastics. The manufacturing process of spray foam insulation has a low carbon footprint as the raw materials are blended together at room temperature for a short period. The material is packaged in recyclable steel drums for distribution. The equipment used for application is energy efficient. Wastage is very low from spray foam insulation compared to other insulation systems.
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