Is styrofoam a good insulator?
Styrofoam is a good insulator because the plastic foam contains billions of trapped gas bubbles. Gases hinder heat conduction because their molecules are very far apart making it difficult for other molecules to collide with them. When molecules DO collide, they either give or take away energy.
Sawdust isn't a better insulator for many kinds of jobs. Styrofoam is generally lighter than most sawdusts because it has a higher fraction of air in it. Air cannot flow through styrofoam as easily as through sawdust, and so sawdust may have a greater convection component to its thermal conductivity than styrofoam.
- Actually polystyrene is a plastic. So far as I know, a plain sheet of polystyrene isn't an unusually good insulator. It's polystyrene foam that works well. The reason is that air is a good thermal insulator, so long as it isn't allowed to circulate in large-scale convection currents.
- In a conductor, electric current can flow freely, in an insulator it cannot. Metals such as copper typify conductors, while most non-metallic solids are said to be good insulators, having extremely high resistance to the flow of charge through them.
- Metals are good conductors of heat. Air is a good insulator; so things which have air trapped in them, like cotton wool, sponge, fibre glass, fur and feathers, are good insulators. This is how animals and birds keep warm; but humans need clothes to keep warm.
STC Ratings. However, due to its absorbent quality, Styrofoam insulation can raise the STC rating of a wall when used as a form of insulation. With the right combination of building materials, including a noise-reducing drywall, it can even help soundproof a room.
- Soundproof Cow's Sound Absorption Products:
- Acoustic fiberglass.
- Acoustic foam.
- Echo Absorber™ Acoustic Cotton.
- Acoustic Partitions.
- Hanging Baffles.
- Other Foams.
- Quiet Board™ Water Resistant Panels.
- A common mistake made by many is to use polystyrene or Kingspan type insulation in the mistaken belief that these are good soundproofing materials but they are not. These materials are thermal insulation and have very little or no acoustic value.
- Acoustic foam is an open celled foam used for acoustic treatment. It attenuates airborne sound waves by increasing air resistance, thus reducing the amplitude of the waves. Acoustic foam can be attached to walls, ceilings, doors, and other features of a room to control noise levels, vibration, and echoes.
Updated: 12th October 2018