Kinds of Polystyrene Insulation

Kinds of Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene is used in many applications. This polystyrene insulation also comes in many different kinds. It is important to distinguish between the various forms of polystyrene insulation because they differ in how they are used. The following are the kinds of polystyrene insulation: Extruded polystyrene insulation and expanded polystyrene insulation.

Extruded polystyrene insulation (also known as XPS Insulation) is made using the extrusion technique to create it. This involves melting the plastic resin as well as other materials together in a hot setting. The liquid that has been created is then constantly extruded through a die, where it expands as it cools. This results in a stiff closed-cell insulator with a closed-cell structure.

Expanded polystyrene insulation, often known as EPS insulation, is made by pouring microscopic foam beads into a mold and pressing them together. After that, heat or steam is given to the mold, causing the little beads to expand and fuse in the process. This manufacturing procedure does not result in closed-cell insulation since there may sometimes be spaces between each of the beads when they are not in contact with one another throughout the production process.

Why do we use polystyrene foam?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the widespread usage of the kinds of polystyrene insulation explained earlier. The following are some of these reasons:

  • Polystyrene beads insulation is portable and lightweight
  • Simply recyclable and can easily be laminated using epoxy resin
  • High levels of thermal insulation
  • Ideal for both outdoor as well as interior projects,
  • Moisture-resistant and durable.
  • The ability to withstand compression.

Differences between the kinds of Polystyrene insulation

Polystyrene insulation comes in two types, these are called expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene foam. They differ in such a way that Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is used in day-to-day applications. For example, it can be used for Styrofoam cups used in most restaurants for coffee, it is also used for shipping as peanut packaging. 

On the other hand, extruded polystyrene insulation is different for EPS because it is denser and its material can last for a longer time. Additionally, unlike EPS, this is used for bigger uses including in architectural models. EPS has emerged as a significant design element and an excellent option for green building design. 

Thermal Conductivity: In comparison to EPS, the initial value of thermal conductivity for XPS is lower than that of EPS. This is due to the fact that air is an excellent conductor of heat. To limit this kind of conduction, you would need a considerably greater density (i.e. more beads, resulting in smaller spaces) of EPS foam in order to lower the amount of heat that is conducted through it.

Water Absorption: It is possible for water to pass through the linked spaces between the beads in EPS. Because water is a strong conductor of heat, this will reduce the insulating properties of the material. This is particularly true for applications such as below-grade and inverted roofs, in which the insulation will be subjected to moisture. Be very cautious if you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing. The freeze-thaw cycle in such locations will make the water trapped inside the spaces expand, causing the bonds between the beads to disintegrate, resulting in a further reduction in insulating effectiveness. This will allow for more airflow through the EPS insulation. XPS has a closed-cell structure, which makes it resistant to abrasion.

Compressive Strength: Comparing EPS to XPS, EPS has lower compressive strength which is desirable. The density of the foam would also have to be much greater for EPS to achieve the very same compression strength as XPS, resulting in a more time-consuming production process.

Characteristics of Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene has many characteristics. This section discusses the characteristics of polystyrene insulation. 

Strong heat-resistance: Polystyrene is a thermoplastic that is highly resistant to heat, it is known as a great conductor of heat, this is because it has several air pockets trapped in it. This results in a great thermal insulator that has great R values. Additionally, there is great reflection and heat absorption in XPS due to its aluminium coil foiled side ensuring that there is reduced loss of heat.

High Moisture Resistance: Polystyrene insulation differs from all other kinds of insulation because of its high resistance to moisture. Therefore, because this polystyrene insulation is compacted, it does not let a lot of heat pass through. So you will not have to worry about mould growth with polystyrene insulation. 

High Compression (EXS and EPS): Foam insulation is dense, it also has a structure that is more solid. This makes it highly compressible and robust.

Easy to Handle: Most professionals or experts prefer to work with polystyrene insulation. This is because it is odorless. It is also very easy to install and does not cause irritation to the skin. Its structure is also thick making it easy to work with.

Other kinds of Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene Plastic

This form of polystyrene is typically considered to be quite fragile, although it is extremely impact resistant, particularly when mixed with other materials. In order to shield electronic equipment from damage, this material is often utilized in protective applications, such as windows as well as screens for electronic gadgets.

Polystyrene Film

This type of polystyrene insulation is used in many applications. The plastic film may typically be vacuum made, stretched over a particular product, and thereafter sealed to prevent air from seeping out or entering the object.


Polystyrene is a thermoplastic. When developed, this plastic is transparent and can be used in many kinds of applications. Whether solid or foam type, this can be used in many applications. Furthermore, it comes in many different forms and each of these types has a variety of uses. Extruded polystyrene (XPS foam) and expanded polystyrene are two types of polystyrene insulation. Despite the fact that both forms of insulation are made of polystyrene, the manufacturing procedures used to create the result in end products with significantly different performance characteristics.