Expandable polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid cellular form of polystyrene with good thermal insulation and shock absorbing properties, high compressive strength, low weight and a resistance to moisture. EPS is best divided into two grades – block and packaging. Block material is primarily used in heat and sound insulation for buildings, siding and exterior wall sheathing. Packaging material is used for various applications including disposable containers and packaging of sensitive equipment. The overall European market has a capacity of 1,254,000 tonnes/year.
EPS is produced in a suspension process by adding a blowing agent, usually pentane that causes resin to foam during moulding.
Polystyrene is not considered toxic in the solid form. However, heating polystyrene-based polymers can result in the release of styrene monomer, which is a hazardous material. Polystyrene powder can cause irritation by inhalation and skin contact.
To find out more Expandable Polystyrene Methodology January 2013