Types of Insulation

There are numerous types of insulation materials, each with their own set of unique features and benefits. Some common types of insulation, used in the Australian built environment, are summarised below.

Glasswool insulation

Glasswool is made from fibres of glass which are arranged using a binder which gives them a texture similar to wool – hence the name. Glasswool can be manufactured as a loose fill material or as batts. Regardless of the form it takes, the process of making this insulation material traps millions of tiny pockets of air between the strands of glass. Because the pockets of air are trapped in this way, there is little to no movement, and thus no heat transfer by way of convection.

Ceiling and wall glasswool batts are lightweight, flexible and resilient. They are specially designed to provide thermal insulation of ceiling and wall cavities in both domestic and commercial buildings.

The most common Fletcher Insulation glasswool products include Pink Batts® residential thermal insulation, Pink® Soundbreak residential acoustic insulation, Permastop® (foil faced) or Pink® (unfaced) Building Blanket for metal roofs; and Pink® Partition thermal and acoustic insulation for commercial buildings.

Reflective insulation

Reflective insulation is typically a foil faced pliable building membrane that has one or more highly emittant surfaces deigned to reflect radiant heat.  Reflective insulation may also be supplied as a composite whereby the reflective foil laminate is adhered to one or more faces of a substrate (e.g. glasswool, foam etc.) to provide the benefits of both reflective and bulk insulation. Permastop® Building Blanket in addition to Sisalation® Foam Cell Multipurpose, are key examples of reflective composite products.

Reflective insulation, such as Sisalation® Pliable Building Membranes, prevents radiant heat gain. It does not particularly protect well against heat transfer via conduction or convection. All reflective insulation has an “R” or thermal resistance value. Heat radiated from the sun warms up the roof of a home or commercial building. The heat is transferred into the attic or other area of the building by conduction. Reflective insulation in the attic or crawl spaces reflects 95% of that heat back up toward the roof, and the insulation material below the reflective barrier (foil) lets very little heat continue downwards; or in other words emits very little heat.

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) insulation

Extruded Polystyrene insulation (commonly referred to as XPS) is a closed cell foam insulation that is produced by expanding a polystyrene polymer via an extrusion process. XPS provides exceptional compressive strength properties typically reaching values of ≥300kPa.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation

Expanded Polystyrene insulation (commonly referred to as EPS) is a closed cell foam insulation that is produced by ‘expanding’ a polystyrene polymer . It is typically supplied in rigid board form and is used in applications where thermal performance is required.

Rockwool insulation

Rockwool is a fibre that is made by spinning or drawing molten minerals, such as ceramics. Rockwool insulation is designed to provide thermal insulation of ceiling and wall cavities. More importantly, it provides high service temperature, a property that is commonly used in buildings to provide adequate fire resistance. Additionally, rockwool is commonly used in industrial applications to wrap pipes, vessels, burners etc.

Fletcher Insulation’s Party Wall Batts, designed for fire protection between adjoining tenancies, are classified as ‘rockwool’ insulation.

Polyester insulation

Polyester insulation, as the name implies, is made from polyester fibres. Polyester fibres are produced from synthetic polymers known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – chemical substances found mainly in petroleum.

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