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SPRAY POLYURETHANE FOAM (SPF)

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is a closed-cell organic product that is spray applied onto virtually any surface with a special blending machine and spray gun to provide a seamless thermal protection.

It is produced by an exothermic reaction between two components that begin to solidify and cure at the end of the reaction phase to form a rigid, but still flexible, final product. SPF is still a liquid when it hits the surface onto which it is sprayed, but rapidly rises to its designated thickness within seconds and can generally be walked on after about 20 minutes (depending on the thickness sprayed).

Full cure and design-properties, e.g. compression strength, are reached after about 24 hours.

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BENEFITS

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is used as insulation for commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural buildings, where its insulation value, high strength, moisture and vapour resistance and durability is required.

Polyurethane Foam is also used for cavity filling and industrial insulation of pipes and tanks, cold storage facilities, freezers, cooler rooms, and climate controlled buildings such as produce storage and clean rooms.

The National Building Regulations (SANS 10400-XA: Energy Usage in Buildings) makes it compulsory for all new buildings to be insulated as of November 2011.

ESKOM’S DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT (DSM) PLAN

Eskom is desperately trying to meet the electricity demand in South Africa with limited power producing resources. In this regard, and to help prevent more ‘load-shedding’, South Africans have to become pro-active by installing effective insulation systems in order to reduce their personal energy consumption.

Ecofoam’s spray polyurethane foam, applied within buildings and on roofs, provides a superior insulation system that significantly helps in the reduction of energy consumption. Our products have long term sustainability and maximize the value of any property, with many other benefits as well.

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APPLICATIONS

Roofing

SPF is used as a high performance commercial and residential roofing system which provides many benefits to building owners, the most prominent being waterproofing/leak prevention and insulation value, due to its monolithic seal over the entire roof structure. These systems offer superior compressive strength and are lightweight, self-flashing, durable and long lasting.

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Insulation

There is no better solution than SPF when it comes to thermal insulation material that prevents air and moisture infiltration, reduces energy costs, adds strength to the building structure, offers permanence and will not sag, keeps dust and pollen out and reduces maintenance and wear of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

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Cavity Filling

SPF is used widely in applications requiring injection and open cavity filling. The versatility of the product permits compounders to tailor the formulation to meet specific requirements. Depending on the needs it can serve as an excellent insulation medium or enhance the structural integrity of the finished product. The list of applications are too numerous to mention and new applications are being added every day.

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Structural Backing for Spas / Hot Tubs

SPF is sprayed onto the backside of hot tubs and spas for two reasons – the first for its superior insulating properties (for keeping warm) and, the second, for its structural ability to keep the acrylic or other rigid elastomer from flexing and bending.

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Marine Insulation and Flotation

SPF is used in numerous marine applications as an integral part of the manufacture of boats, buoys, docks and flotation devices due to its high strength to weight ratio plus its inherent resistance to gasoline and oil. The adhesiveness and buoyancy of this product is superb and systems can be tailored to meet most application requirements.

Refrigeration / Walk-in Coolers

Polyurethane Foam is used in most ice coolers due to its superior thermal insulation properties. It is also used for creating the panels used in most walk-in refrigerated coolers. You will also find foam in picnic coolers and insulated flasks. Polyurethane Foam keeps the cold stuff cold, and the warm stuff warm.

Theatre and Movie Sets

Polyurethane’s vast versatility lends itself to on-site or studio production of needed settings. The savings can be considerable when compared to the cost involved to shoot the actual setting. Polyurethanes can be formulated to provide physical properties for structural applications such as facades to lightweight boulders to the replication of tree bark, to exacting duplications of extinct animals.

Other Applications

Polyurethane Foam can also be used for storage tanks, packaging, furniture, adhesives, architectural design, structural reinforcement of airline fuselages and aerospace applications. NASA’s use of foam on the Space Shuttle Main Fuel Tank is still a tremendous testimonial for its performance as an insulation material.

The applications and benefits that Polyurethane Foam provides are virtually limitless, including that of fire protection, where it greatly extends the time fire takes to burn through the compound.

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SPRAY POLYURETHANE FOAM vs. STANDARD INSULATION

Spray Polyurethane Foam insulates homes and businesses dramatically better than the conventional insulations, such as fibreglass or cellulose.

These are some of the many benefits of SPF:

  • cuts monthly air conditioning/heating costs by up to 60%
  • improves indoor air quality (reducing allergy & asthma attacks)
  • helps homes & businesses become much quieter
  • will not support or spread flame
  • kills mould on contact and reduces future mould growth
  • is not a food source for mould, roaches, or termites
  • is not damaged by water or floods
  • does not settle or pack down over time
  • will not sag or split as it ages
  • does not allow air loss or air infiltration into your building

The old thermal resistance tests are out-dated and inaccurate, i.e. the old R-Value tests only measure one type of heat – conduction heat. The SPF industry uses Performance Value Tests that measure all three types of heats: conduction heat, convection heat, and radiant heat from the sun. These performance tests have proved that the real thermal resistance value (R-value) of standard insulation is very inaccurate, i.e. as much as a 60% decrease in their true R-values. For example, an R-2.6 fibreglass batt actually performs like an R-1.6 and an R-5.3 fibreglass batt performs like an R-3.3. Blown insulations like fibreglass, cellulose and rock wool have even lower R-values.

Old standard insulations allow a lot of airflow through them. So the air loss and air infiltration in our homes and buildings was very high, which is why our utility bills have been much higher than necessary. SPF insulation does not allow air to flow so freely through, which makes it a superior insulation material. Stopping unnecessary air flow helps buildings become far more efficient than simply upgrading air condition systems, installing heat reflective roof materials, sun blocking films on windows, etc.

When measuring the effectiveness of insulation, R-value is the only factor most insulation manufacturers talk about, because it’s all they offer. R-value measures the ability to limit conductive heat flow (heat transferred through it). But the primary method of heat transfer is not conductive heat flow but air leakage (convection). Air leakage can account for up to 40% of a building’s energy loss, and it cannot be stopped with traditional insulation. R-value is important, but an airtight seal is equally important for achieving energy savings.

SPF insulation provides insulation R-value and air-sealing in a single step, saving time and reducing the material needed. This is the only way to truly provide our clients with the most value from their insulation costs.

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WATER RESISTANCE

SPF shows very little propensity to absorb water due to its closed-cell structure and hydrophobic nature. The water absorption in a small scale test in laboratory is usually below 2%. For this reason, SPF outperforms other insulation materials regarding water resistance e.g. in wall or roof applications.

In situ SPF, in a large scale test which simulates real exposure, is water resistant up to 1800Pa, which corresponds to a wind speed of 197km/h. Therefore, in situ SPF is the only insulation material which can achieve the maximum water resistance level on masonry façades without any other requirement.

In this test, a medium sized wall (1.2 m wide x 2.4 m high x 110 mm thick) was built and sprayed in-situ with polyurethane foam on one of its sides (inner face). A pressure chamber was then attached to the opposite side (external face) and water was projected at the wall through nozzles, with increasing pressure pulses to simulate rain at different wind speeds. The test was stopped when no water penetration was observed on the inner face of the wall at a maximum pressure of 1800Pa.

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BUILDING FOUNDATIONS

The following excerpt has been taken from a report prepared by Llewellyn van Wyk, a senior CSIR Built Environment researcher: –

“Foundations can be a significant source of heat loss and require appropriate insulation to ensure proper thermal performance of the building envelope. The proposed new building standards and regulations for energy efficiency in buildings in South Africa will, if approved, require that ground floor slabs are insulated to ensure proper thermal performance.

Exterior below-grade insulation is a unique challenge and opportunity for performance improvement because it performs many functions. It can provide insulation between the building assembly and the ground while protecting the structure from environmental challenges such as compression and expansion due to frost action, and moisture and water from wet soils. This means that particular care must be taken when selecting an effective insulation and damproof system to ensure that it enhances the overall performance of the building and maximises energy savings associated with heating and cooling.

One way of achieving the correct insulation performance is to use Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) insulation and waterproofing system. A typical application of SPF would entail casting a concrete slab, covering that with a layer of SPF, and applying another layer of concrete to form a sandwich.

In addition, a layer of SPF can be applied to both sides of the foundation walls: this method provides excellent thermal performance while also providing moisture and water resistance to the below-ground building-envelope construction.”

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

Professor Dean Kashiwagi

Director of the Performance Based Studies

Research Group at the Webb School of Construction University of Arizona

Nobody knows more about roofs and Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) insulation systems than Professor Dean Kashiwagi. Between 1983 and 1996, the professor surveyed and documented the remarkable performance of more than 1600 SPF roofing systems, some of which were more than 26 years old. An additional survey of 160 roofing systems was done across six different U.S. climate zones and the findings concluded that SPF roofing systems are highly sustainable.

Professor Kashiwagi’s report revealed that: –

  • 6% did not leak
  • 93% had less than 1% deterioration
  • 55% amazingly had never been maintained
  • 70% were applied over existing roofs