FAQs

Can EPS be recycled?

Yes, EPS is 100 percent recyclable. Recycled EPS is used in a number of applications replacing and conserving plastics.

Is EPS effected by high humidity, as experienced during shipping and storage?

No EPS is unaffected and remains strong and inert during conditions of high humidity. It does not sag or alter in dimensions. EPS packaging keeps its shape and protective properties.

There are a lot of new types of packaging around- aren’t these better than EPS?

EPS continues to be used for a large range of critical applications, as it is inherently a great packaging material. In the 50 years of EPS packaging other materials still struggle to meet the performance characteristics of EPS. With excellent strength to weight performance, thermal and shock resistance performance and price performance EPS is still the leader in temperature sensitive packaging.

I want to transport my temperature sensitive product to a customer 10 hours away - will my product still be at the right temperature?

Barnes can help you check the performance of the packaging you want to use and simulate the thermal performance of the packaging. Just ask our sales team to assist you and see how good EPS is at thermal protection.

What exactly is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)?

It is a lightweight cellular material consisting of fine spherical shaped particles, which are comprised of 98% air and 2% polystyrene. This air is trapped within a number of closed hollow cells in each particle.

How is EPS manufactured?

When raw EPS particles containing a blowing or expanding agent are softened by heating with steam, the hollowed closed cells are formed within the particles which expand to up to 50 times their original volume. Shaped EPS products are produced by direct moulding of the expanded particles in specially shaped moulds to produce boxes, trays and lids.

How effective is EPS as a thermal insulation material?

Extremely effective essentially because stabilized air is such a good insulator and EPS is 98% stabilised air.

Does EPS absorb water?

EPS is a closed cell and cannot absorb water. During the process of moulding tiny channels are formed between the EPS particles. If the material is immersed in water these tiny channels can be filled with water. After immersion for more than 360 days, there may be up to 6% water content by volume that has entered the channels. Even under such an adverse and rare condition of prolonged saturation, EPS suffers little adverse effect. It maintains its shape, size, structure, cohesion and physical appearance.

Does EPS have a capillary action?

No. EPS does not have a capillary action.

Does age affect the thermal performance of EPS?

No. EPS consists of 98% air and 2% polystyrene, and nothing else. Because of its cellular structure EPS is dimensionally stable, and will not settle over time.

Is EPS Strong?

Yes. EPS exhibits excellent compressive and flexural strength and dimensional stability characteristics ...at a very high strength to weight ratio.

Is EPS degraded by ultraviolet light?

Prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause a slight discoloration (yellowing) of EPS and cause some surface embrittlement. Even so, the thermal insulation properties will not be affected unless exposure results in loss of thickness of the EPS. EPS should be covered to protect it from UV light if it is to be stored in the open for extended periods.

Is EPS Durable?

Yes. Because EPS is an inert, organic material, it will not rot and is highly resistant to mildew.

Does EPS contain CFC’s?

No. EPS is chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) free. At no stage during the manufacture or application of EPS is the use of CFCs or HCFC's, or other compounds that are said to contribute to the destruction of the earth's ozone layer, required.