Styrofoam Durability

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Your home may have Styrofoam for insulation.
Your home may have Styrofoam for insulation. (Image: home sweeet home image by .shock from Fotolia.com)

Styrofoam is one of those materials that is constantly all around, whether you realize it or not. For instance, the house you live in or the building you work in probably has Styrofoam insulation. If you’re a crafter, you likely use Styrofoam from time to time. Styrofoam is so popular because of its versatility. However, it’s also a very durable product, despite the fact that it can be easily cut and shaped. A number of properties unique to Styrofoam make it so durable.

Definition

Styrofoam is a product trademark owned by Dow Chemical Company. It’s the brand name of extruded polystyrene foam. This foam has a wide variety of uses, including insulating homes and making crafts. While some people refer to foam cups and food containers as being made of Styrofoam, these items are usually made of a different type of foam called expanded polystyrene foam.

Moisture Resistance

Styrofoam has a closed-cell structure that prevents water from penetrating the material. That’s what makes Styrofoam so buoyant. It’s also what makes it so durable for marine applications. It was first used by the Coast Guard in 1942 in a six-man life raft. Today, it’s used in the construction of large marine vessels, including boat houses.

Rigidity

Styrofoam’s rigidity means that when used as insulation, it will stay in place instead of bending or sagging. The same closed-cell structure that makes it resistant to moisture gives it its rigidity. Unlike other foams, such as the expanded foam used in packing peanuts, Styrofoam does not compress easily, which means it can be used in load-bearing applications.

Low Rot Susceptibility

Styrofoam resists rot, mold and fungal growth. This means that foam used in insulation in a home can last many decades completely unharmed by time. Part of the reason for this is that it doesn’t provide any sort of nutrients for harmful organisms.

Chemical Resistance

Additionally, Styrofoam has a good resistance to various types of chemicals known to break down certain building materials. The long list of materials that Styrofoam has has an excellent resistance to include acids, bases, salts and alcohols.

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