For the first time the potential of Neopor® is being fully utilized, now that BASF’s silver-gray plastic granules are used in new high-performance insulating materials. Thermal insulation panels made of this expandable polystyrene (EPS), which meet the strict heat-protection requirements of the new German quality type 032 for External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS), have recently become available. The low thermal conductivity of the panels, 0.032 W/(m.K), can already be achieved with a material density of 17 kg/m³. Neopor panels of the quality type 032 demonstrate that Neopor has a considerably higher insulation capacity than conventional EPS while, at the same time, requiring less material. This means that BASF granules can make a major contribution to energy efficiency and environmental protection.
Granules with advantages for cost-efficient construction
The outstanding insulating capacity of panels made of Neopor is especially evident at low densities. In order to attain the low thermal conductivity of 0.032 W/(m.K), a mere 540 kg of Neopor are needed to produce a 16 cm-thick insulation for a building shell of 200 m². In comparison to this, about 970 kg of conventional EPS such as Styropor® would be required for the same surface area if the same insulation capacity is to be attained. This translates into raw material savings of over 40 percent.
The type 032 insulation materials made of Neopor are particularly well-suited for façade insulation using ETICS: the insulation panels are attached to the building wall and covered with a special plaster and glass tissue that prevents cracks. A finishing coat of plaster is then applied over this. Industry and research have steadily refined ETICS over the past 40 years. Today they can be used for all kinds of buildings, whether old or new, single-family homes or multi-unit housing complexes. Other new fields of application for Neopor include panels having a thermal conductivity of 0.031 W/(m.K) (type 031). They are available starting at a density of about 25 kg/m³ and consequently can withstand a greater compressive load of the kind needed, for instance, for insulating floors or flat roofs.
BASF’s Neopor – the innovative refinement of Styropor
Neopor, BASF’s expandable granules, is used for the production of thermal insulation panels. The black beads are processed into silver-gray foamed blocks, panels or molded parts. The raw material contains special graphite particles that reflect heat radiation like a mirror, thus reducing thermal losses. This means that a smaller amount of Neopor attains the same insulating effect as Styropor. Aside from ETIC systems, typical areas of application for Neopor include impact-sound insulation, the insulation of pitched and flat roofs as well as of attic and basement ceilings. Because of the high demand for Neopor, BASF is expanding its production capacities. In Ludwigshafen, the capacity will be gradually increased from 60,000 to 190,000 metric tons per year. BASF also recently started producing the granules in South Korea for the local market.