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The long-term thermal performance of insulation products is important to ensure their suitability in applications where product life can be fifty years or more. Actual measurements of foams aged under conditions of use are helpful but can only be gathered in real time. While necessary to assure the validity of model predictions, such measurements do not allow early determination of the future performance of new systems. With the need for all users of CFCs to find alternatives, the question of how to ensure long-term thermal performance takes on immediate significance. In this paper we describe some work done in our laboratory to assure the long-term thermal performance of STYROFOAM* brand insulation foam.
The use of bundles of thin-sliced foam samples provides a technique for accelerating foam aging. Aging curves relating bundle k-factor to a scaled age consolidates the data for measurement of the slope of k-factor with scaled age. This slope can be employed to evaluate the effective diffusion coefficients of candidate CFC replacements in polystyrene foams. The ratio of effective diffusion coefficient to film diffusion coefficient yields insight concerning the cell structure of the foam.
XPS foams, long-term aging, CFC, HCFC, polystyrene foam, cellular plastics, thermal insulation
Research Associate, Foam Products Research Laboratory, The Dow Chemical Company, Granville, OH