Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Fire

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Fire

Attention: by using StyFRene, Architects and Specifiers can confidently incorporate Isolite expanded polystyrene (EPS) in designing cost-effective and energy-efficient building solutions.

Commissioned by the Expanded Polystyrene Association of South Africa (EPSASA), of which Isowall is a member, the Firelab CC conducted a large scale test according to SANS10177:11, in line with protocol SANS 428, to determine the fire properties of EPS. The test determined EPS as a Class B/B1/B2 H only (UNSPR).

The test report concludes that: “From a fire safety point of view, the FR grade EPS thermal insulation system, as tested under specific test conditions, may be used as part of the thermal insulated building envelope in all industrial and commercial buildings as an under-roof and side-cladding insulation material, both with or without sprinklers.”

All Isolite EPS block moulded products are made using flame retardant grade EPS, which drastically reduces the flammability and spread of flame on the surface of our EPS.

Flame retardant polystyrene (FR Grade) is available in all densities.

Surface fire index results according to SABS 0177, part III yield the following results:

  • Spread of flame index 4.4,
  • Heat contribution index 0.9,
  • Smoke emission index 9.9,
  • Surface fire index 4.7,
  • Class 5.

There are various characteristics of EPS that form as a basis for evaluating its behaviour when subjected to ignition sources. The performance of fire retardant additives is also evaluated. This information can be used for hazard assessment considering the complexity of a real fire and the difficulty of modelling real fire situations from scaled tests.

There are several important factors which must be considered in determining the potential fire hazard of EPS are, namely, the foam density and shape of the product, its configuration relative to an ignition source, the use of any bonding to a substrate or facing, the location of the product, which will influence the heat transport and the availability of oxygen ventilation.

General Like practically all organic building materials polystyrene foam is combustible. However, in practice its burning behaviour depends on the conditions under which it is used, as well as the inherent properties of the material. These inherent properties differ depending on whether the cellular material is made from EPS with or without a FR additive.

For more information on the above mentioned test please see links below:




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