Theexpanded polystyrene, also called "polystyrene", is widely employed as thermal insulatorin the construction sector. Theexpanded polystyreneis obtained by immersing granules ofpolystyreneand by adding to the mixture a quantity of pentane ranging from 2 to 8 percent: pentane is insoluble in water so it diffuses into the granules, while, for theexpansion, water vapor is blown at about 120-130 ° C causing swelling caused by the boiling of the pentane.
To make compact blocks ofexpanded polystyrene(typical for the preparation of the so-called "thermal coat“), The steam temperature is further raised and finally the blocks are cut into slabs. This production process refers to theexpanded polystyreneof synthesis (EPS), equally energy-intensive is the manufacturing process ofextruded expanded polystyrene(XPS) where, to determine the swelling of the polystyrene is the pressure difference of a blown gas and the polystyrene itself.
With thethermal coat, theexpanded polystyreneit is composed in a "sandwich" structure where the panels of ESP or XPS (expanded polystyrene synthesized or extruded) form double layers ofinsulators. The thermal coat can be made with petroleum derivatives (as in the case ofexpanded polystyrene) or with natural materials (perlite, sheep's wool, corn fiber, pumice, cork, ceramic fiber, cellular glass…).
Certainly the structures asandwichare perfect for ithermal coats, they often incorporate a ventilated layer that places the low thermal conductivity of the air at the service ofenergy efficiency.In these terms, sustainable architecture does not use aloneexpanded polystyrene, an excellent example of a sandwich structure is given by two rock wool panels spaced apart by a corrugated aluminum sheet that forms a ventilated cavity.
Athermal coatoffers numerous advantages: on the one hand it increases the economic value of the building (increasing its energy efficiency), in addition it constitutes a good acoustic insulator, enhances domestic comfort, limits the risk of condensation and mold formation and offers excellent savings energy in terms of HVAC systems.
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