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BUFCA Promotes Polyurethane Foam for Structural Stability as Well as for Insulation Purposes

International Spotlight

BUFCA Promotes Polyurethane Foam for Structural Stability as Well as for Insulation Purposes

When it comes to cavity wall insulation, there is only one product that provides an all-around solution and that is injected polyurethane foam insulation. Not only does it provide superior thermal insulation, but it also helps bond the inner and outer leaves together to provide additional stability to the building fabric. In fact, there are many advantages to installing polyurethane foam.

Polyurethane foam is a two-component liquid system which produces a highly efficient blanket of insulation. The cured foam offers outstanding performance by combining low thermal conductivity characteristics (approximately twice as efficient as fiberglass) with an air barrier that eliminates heat loss through air leakage. By outperforming all other forms of cavity fill, it is particularly cost-effective and is easily applied to a wide variety of substrates.

The polyurethane foam insulant helps to bond the inner and outer cavity leaves together, providing structural stability to the building. This is particularly important where wall ties have failed, or are starting to deteriorate, as this can help avoid costly remedial or replacement work prior to any treatment being carried out. The processed raw material is injected as a fluid or ‘syrup’ which flows throughout the whole cavity, avoiding the clumping or blockages sometimes associated with conventional materials or poor quality installation. This ensures that the cavity is fully filled, reducing the risk of condensation, mould growth and other problems associated with cold spots arising from missing insulation.

In severe or coastal exposure zones, more conventional cavity insulation materials may not be an option, as the exposure ratings may make them unsuitable. However, the moisture impermeable, non-slumping properties of polyurethane foam enables it to be installed in all exposure zones. In the UK there are 5.2 million homes in flood-risk areas. Flood waters penetrating properties can cause serious damage to the building substrate, the cavity wall ties, and internal finishes. Where housing is susceptible to flooding, the installation of polyurethane foam to the cavity helps to stem the flow of water through the walls. The material’s closed-cell nature renders it very resistant to moisture ingress and it can often be used when other forms of cavity fill are not suitable.

Injected polyurethane foam cavity insulant can be used to insulate hard-to-treat housing. This could include properties with narrow cavities, stone cavities, failing wall ties, or a metal frame or timber framed construction, where other cavity insulation materials are often precluded.

The English Housing Survey published in 2014 cited 4.9 million homes both in private and public sector ownership as not meeting the Decent Homes Standard in 2012. Many of these can be brought up to current standards of thermal insulation simply by installing polyurethane foam.

The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association is the national trade association representing the spray applied and injected polyurethane foam industry. BUFCA has a network of contractors skilled in the installation of sprayed or injected polyurethane foam.

When choosing a member, specifiers can be assured of the highest standards of quality and service. Installers are required to abide by the Association’s Code of Professional Practice which aims to further good technical and professional conduct and promotes sound relationships between members and their customers. A survey is carried out before installation to check that the building fabric is sound, with any necessary rectification works carried out.

There is a twenty-five year insurance warranty which BUFCA installer members can offer for domestic injected polyurethane cavity wall insulation projects. The warranty offers reassurance to customers and becomes effective if there is a fault with the installation or the product and the installer or product manufacturer has ceased to trade.

The BUFCA warranty is available for installations funded as part of Energy Company Obligation or Green Deal Home Improvement Funded work. Other domestic and commercial jobs can also be considered, subject to prior approval by the insurers.

Technical datasheets and literature on the use of injected polyurethane for walls is available from the BUFCA website at www.bufca.co.uk. 

 

European Coatings Show Closes with New Record Highs

The coatings world today and in the future: green, sustainable, and functional

With 1,024 exhibitors from 42 countries and around 28,500 trade visitors representing nearly 110 nationalities, the European Coatings Show closed with new record highs – despite strike-related train cancellations throughout Germany. The leading trade fair thus underscored its position as an international meeting place for the global coatings industry. The world’s largest industry show for the paint and coatings industry occupied seven halls in the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg and once again impressed with innovative products and knowledge transfer at the highest level. With around 700 participants from 42 countries, the European Coatings Congress was overwhelmingly well attended. 144 presentations given by prestigious speakers from science and research focused on the production of high-quality coatings, paints, sealants, construction chemicals and adhesives. The products at the Show and the presentations at the Congress showed the diverse requirements met by modern coatings solutions: functional, safe, environmentally friendly, and firmly committed to the idea of sustainability as bio-based products.

Every two years at the European Coatings Show, exhibitors from around the world present the latest products and ground-breaking developments for the entire process chain of paint and coatings production. In addition to all the raw materials for coatings, printing inks and adhesives, the show includes laboratory and production equipment as well as testing and measuring devices. Congress participants and trade fair visitors agree that a knowledge lead is everything in a research-intensive industry. In three halls, short product presentations offered trade fair visitors the opportunity to learn about new products. One highlight on the second day of the trade fair was the premiere of the Innovation Slam in a real boxing ring located in hall 4. In front of an enthusiastic audience, five competitors set out to win over the spectators by pitching an innovative product in a presentation lasting 180 seconds. Voting by smartphone, the audience selected Dr. Berta Vega Sánchez from Bayer Material Science with her presentation “First biobased polyurethane crosslinker: Desmodur Eco N” as the winner.

In his keynote address at the congress, Prof. Rolf Mülhaupt from the Freiburg Materials Research Centre FMF at the University of Freiburg took a critical look at the term “sustainability.” Green in the sense of biobased is not enough to label a product as sustainable. It is far more important to closely examine the entire manufacturing process, beginning with the cultivation of the raw plant materials. The growing demand for biobased products will also always be in competition with the worldwide production of food products. According to Prof. Mülhaupt, when viewed as a whole, synthetic polymers could well be clearly superior to biopolymers. With the European Coatings Award, Fred van Wijk (Nuplex Resins) was recognized for his congress presentation “New, ultra-fast drying, low-VOC, isocyanate-free technology for 2K coating systems.” In his presentation, Van Wijk pointed out the potential that can be found in using isocyanate-free chemicals as a replacement for conventional two-component top coats. The main benefit: The decoupling of pot life and drying time while at the same time allowing for fast curing.

The next European Coatings Show will take place in the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg from 4-6 April 2017. For more information: www.european-coatings-show.com.