Published: Jan 1991
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Durability and field performances of urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) in Australian dwellings and the physical and chemical properties important to these performance have been investigated by a combination of field inspections and product sampling, a postal survey of building problems and occupant complaints, formaldehyde gas concentration measurements and laboratory assessment of product behaviour. Products gathered in the field exhibited large differences in physical and chemical properties and stability. Ill effects have been reported to Health Departments by occupants in 0.2% of installations and were typical of those known to result from exposure to formaldehyde gas, showed strong association to building occupancy and may have been associated with poorly formulated and unstable products. Laboratory assessment of commercial products showed that all products hydrolysed, lost strength and emitted more formaldehyde gas under high humidity conditions. However, only products with high acidity exhibited dimensional instability, some exhibiting linear shrinkage of more than 30% after only short periods of exposure to high humidity.
urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), formaldehyde, durability, hydrolysis, physical properties, health, indoor air, survey
Senior Experimental Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Highett, Victoria