Physical Properties and Uses of Polystyrene in Freezers and Coolrooms

10 October 2016

Some dynamic duos fight the elements, not costumed villains. In freezers and coolrooms, for instance, two forms of Polystyrene battle energy losses. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) receives a mention first due to its immensely popular application base. The second member of this heroic pairing ranks almost as highly, although this latter energy champion is extruded, not formed from a closed-cell expansion process. Let’s take a look at both of these variations on a theme to see where they fit within freezer and coolroom designs.

Foam Insulating Panels

The general uses of this ubiquitous foam vary dramatically. Fragile items are packed in polystyrene foam. Food and drink cartons use that same packaging feature, except the product also leverages the thermal insulating properties of the foam to keep meals warm and beverages cool. Now, with this information in mind, EPS is an obvious choice for composite wall insulating panels, for its closed-cell build forms the core of some of the finest aluminium-bonded insulation panels on the market. The laminated pairing is light, certain to eliminate energy leakages, and as strong as any other toughened aluminium fixture.

Extruded Plastics Excel in Coolroom Environments

This is still the same polymer, but the material has been processed in a slightly different manner. The result is a soft plastic, but it’s more rigid than its foam-based cousin. Expect to see extruded freezer bags with zip-lock tops using this material. Likewise, well-defined containers employ the soft plastic. These larger containers, complete with lids, are manufactured from high-walled form factors to store large quantities of perishable items. Now, a summation of these features would seem to target extruded poly at the container sector, especially since these containers are very common in kitchens. But this multitalented plastic isn’t confined to portable containers, for it can swap places with expanded foam cores. Structurally rigid, this extruded core again binds to a pair of aluminium outer faces to create a formidable thermal barrier, one that’s easily installed as modular paneling in a freezer or coolroom alcove.

General use expanded foam, sometimes called styrofoam, is used in coffee cups, carry-out containers, and countless packaging applications. It’s also used in composite wall panels and concrete flooring as a thermal barrier. Meanwhile, extruded polystyrene also performs proficiently within packaging scenarios, though its soft outlines do bias the material towards food containers. The soft plastic is extruded for freezer bags, food containers, and used within the cores of laminated wall insulating panels.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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