Styrofoam is a trade name for a specific type of extruded foam product, but more importantly has become a generic name for any variety of rigid foams, typically styrene based. It is important to distinguish exactly what product you are looking for, and what is appropriate for the specific application.
Different types of foams are commonly called “styrofoam”, including EPS foam (expanded polystyrene), rigid insulation board foams of different foam types, foam insulation, and a wide variety of packaging foams. Also, although less commonly, other types of polymer foams may be described as “styrofoam”. When searching for appropriate materials for an application, it is important to consider several factors including, performance, available raw material size, yield, and final part or sheet configuration.
Performance of foam materials is of the utmost importance, but of course total cost is also important. When evaluating different types of styrofoam for cost/performance, consider the density of the foam, commonly expressed as PCF or pounds per cubic foot. Most of the rigid foams range from slightly under 1PCF to 3PCF (other types of foams can go much higher in density). Typically the higher the density, the greater the cost. Other types of foam, including EPS foam, are described in detail on other pages in this website.
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