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Expanded Polystyrene Foam Products Questions &
Answers
What is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)?

 

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a lightweight cellular plastic material consisting of small hollow spherical balls.


In fact EPS is made up of 98% air – making it one of the lightest materials in existence. It is also commonly referred to as polystyrene foam.

 

What is EPS used for?

 

EPS is widely used in packaging applications for the transport of produce, seafood and fragile items. 


EPS is also becoming a popular material for use in building and construction applications. Examples include geofoam, a light-weight void filler, insulated panel systems, wall cladding systems and concrete slab footing systems known as waffle pods.

 

What are the benefits of using EPS?

 

EPS is widely used in many everyday applications where its light weight, strength, durability, thermal insulation and shock absorption characteristics
provide superior benefits over other materials. These characteristics,  combined with its versatility, performance and cost effectiveness have made
EPS a packaging and building material of choice for over 50 years.

 

Is EPS harmful to my health?

 

No, EPS is not harmful to health. Styrene is naturally occurring in foods such as strawberries, peaches, cinnamon, beef and coffee.

 

In 2002, an international panel of independent experts selected by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis reported that the very low levels of styrene
present in foods—whether naturally occurring or from polystyrene foodservice products—does not represent a concern to human health.

 

Is EPS harmful to the environment?  

 

EPS is inert and non-toxi.


The use of EPS insulation products significantly reduces the energy requirements for heating and cooling in buildings.  This results in lowered
carbon dioxide emissions giving an overall positive contribution to the environment. 

 

Can I recycle EPS?

 

Yes, EPS is completely recyclable. 

 

Why is EPS not accepted in my household
recycling bin? 
 

 

The main reason is cost.  EPS  has  a  high volume to  weight  ratio thereby making  it very lightweight but difficult and costly to transport large distances. Also the overall amount of EPS (by weight) in the
waste stream is relatively low compared to other types of plastics therefore it is difficult to achieve the same economies of scale.

 

Where can I recycle EPS? 

 

Expanded Polystyrene has established a National Collection Network with recycling centers located in accross the nation and worldwide.

 

Many EPS manufacturers ccept clean EPS scrap for recycling.   There are also other independent operators who are able to recycle EPS. 

 

What products is EPS recycled into?

 

Products made using recycled EPS include simple plastic goods such as planter pots and coat hangers.  An emerging market for recycled EPS is synthetic timber for picture frames and housing applications such as architraves. 


Additionally, many EPS building and construction applications such as waffle pods and void formers are able to contain a high percentage of recycled EPS material.  

 

Information Above Taken from Expanded Polystyrene Australia

What do you want to know about EPS?


Neil Hanekom
Worldwide Independent Geofoam &

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Specialist

(904) 477-1982


Servicio en español

Espanol@EPSFoamPro.com





EPS Foam products Raw Material Manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam Raw Material Manufacturers of EPS Foam products Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam products raw material suppliers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Equipment manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam Equipment Manufacturers EPS Foam Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam production facilities Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam factories Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam EPS Architectural Shapes Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Blocks Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Insulated Concrete Forms ICFs Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Floatation / Flotation  Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Geofoam Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Insulation Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Packaging cut and molded Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Structurally Insulated Panel SIPS Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam EPS Foam professionals Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Consultants Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Contractors Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Engineers Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Researchers Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Sales people Expanded Polystyrene EPS Lost Foam: EPS Foam products Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Product Development Geofoam Sales Agents Geofoam Research & Education Recycling Drop off Locations Alabama SIPS Companies Packaging Companies Geofoam Professionals Geofoam Consultants Geofoam Engineers List Geofoam Contractors EPS Foam Broker, EPS Foam Whole-sale, EPS Foam wholesale, EPS Foam distributor, EPS Foam low cost, EPS Foam low price, EPS Foam lowest price, EPS Foam best price, EPS Foam unbeatable, EPS Foam Best price,  EPS Foam closest, EPS Foam fastest, EPS Foam easiest, EPS Foam best,  EPS Foam Products Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam, Raw Materials,  Resin Manufacturers Suppliers EPS Foam Products Raw Materials Resin Manufacturers & Suppliers of Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam Equipment Machine Manufacturers Adhesive EPS Foam Equipment & Machine Manufacturers: Adhesives, CNC Cutting Machines, Custom Equipment, Food & Drink Containers, ICFs, Packaging, & Recycling Equipment of Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam  CNC Cutting machines, Custom Food & Drink Containers ICF Packaging Recycling  EPS Foam Molding Aging Silo Continuous Pre-expander Batch Pre-expander Raw Materials  Boiler Room  Air-compressed Storage Tank Steam Storage Tank Air Compressor and Drier Pond and Cooling Tower Automatic Vacuum Shape Molding Machine Automatic Vacuum Block Molding Machines Hoppor for Machine Vacuum Tank Automatic Block Cutting Machines Blocks drying Room Shapes Drying Room EPS Foam Products Molding Equipment Manufacturers Machines Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam  Production Facilities  Manufacturers Molders Factories EPS Foam Products Production Manufacturers Molders Factories Facilities Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam Other end product related companies  EPS End Products Adhesives Architectural Shapes Blocks Coatings & sprays Domes Food & drink Containers Floatation / Flotation Expanded Beads / Bags Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) Floatation / Flotation Geofoam Insulation Packaging cut and molded Structurally Insulated Panel (SIPS) Lost Foam Foundry Patterns for Metal Casting Packaging Surf boards EPS Foam End Products Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam EPS, EPS Foam Flotation devices, contractors device, foam tanks, foam tubes, EPS Foam, EPS foam boat, EPS foam canoe, History of EPS Floatation, History of EPS Flotation Devices, Expanded Polystyrene, Build Boat, EPS foam Dock Systems, EPS foam technologies, EPS foam marine, EPS foam for kayak, costs of EPS foam floatation system, History of EPS Foam Floatation,

EPS Foam Flotation devices contractors device foam tanks foam tubes EPS Foam EPS foam boat EPS foam canoe History of EPS Floatation History of EPS Flotation Devices Expanded Polystyrene Build Boat EPS foam Dock Systems EPS foam technologies EPS foam marine EPS foam for kayak costs of EPS foam floatation system History of EPS Foam Floatation

 

Title:

History of EPS Foam (Aka Styrofoam Foam) Floatation / Flotation Devices Expanded Polystyrene Boat Flotation, Floating Homes, Floating Docks, Floating Platforms.

 

Introduction:

 

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) can be used for a variety of floatation devices, such as rafts, docks and billets. Buoyancy billets are usually produced in standard sizes but can be easily customized. They are suitable for fresh and salt water and are unaffected by winter temperatures. EPS billets can support 55 lbs. per cubic foot, which is significantly more than typical wood floatation devices. Since EPS is lightweight and easy to work with, installation and maintenance costs are low.

 

EPS buoyancy systems are safe for the environment. They are ozone friendly, no CFCs are used in their production, and they have no food value for marine animals. Growth of marine life in stagnant water does not impair the buoyancy of the billet and can be easily removed with a scraper.

 

EPS floatation structures exhibit excellent rebound characteristics with minimum rocking, provide less resistance to breaking waves and are quieter than those with other types of floatation such as drum floats.

 

Floatation:

 

In summer months, it is not unusual to find the nearest watering hole filled with people escaping the heat and enjoying the water as well as sights and sounds. Many water-related activities are made safer with the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) from floating docks to life-saving devices and buoys to surf and boogie boards. Whether you recognize it or not, EPS is everywhere on the waterfront.

 

Floatation devices have evolved over the years due to the introduction of new materials. Prior to the invention of foam plastics, in the early 1960s, wood or empty drums were commonly used in floatation docks. Due to its lightweight and buoyant characteristics EPS has become the most popular floatation product on the market today.

 

With a life expectancy of twenty years for exposed EPS, manufacturers began experimenting with various coatings to protect it from petroleum products floating in the water and to prolong its lifespan. The blocks were painted, encased in steel or aluminum, wrapped with fiberglass or covered with wood. By the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended and implemented regulations to require encapsulated foam in all marine installations. Approved coatings or encapsulations were at the discretion of each reservoir manager making it tedious for manufacturers and distributors to market their various products. Appendix C to 36 CFR Part 327, Shoreline Use Permit Conditions: Dock and Mooring floatation Standards, specified standards currently in place. The coatings must be warranted by the manufacturer not to crack, peel, slough or deteriorate from ultra-violet rays and to retain its performance properties against wake and ice for at least eight years.

 

Water absorption tests developed by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) does not specifically apply to floatation devices. The Corp of Engineers implements a majority of the standards followed by manufacturers and distributors. Frederic Hunt, a marina consultant, developed a simple test to determine water absorption of foam floatation docks. The Hunt Absorption Test is administered to obtain a preliminary indication of the relative absorption of foams. No governing body including the Corps of Engineers references this test as a standardized and reliable test. It is most widely used as an advertising and marketing tool.

 

Advancements in processing helped polyethylene coated expanded polystyrene gain wide acceptance. It is now the dominant floatation device due to its long life and durability. EPS billets are able to support 55 lbs per cubic feet, as compared to wood, which is approximately 20 to 40 times heavier, but can only support about 18 to 28 lbs. The polyethylene should be a minimal thickness of 0.125. For areas affected by ice, thicknesses should increase to at least 0.187 inch. The tubs have an estimated life span of over 40 years and even if the coating cracks or are punctured, it will remain buoyant for approximately 15 to 20 years. Corps of Engineers concluded that encapsulated floatation devices would last three to four times longer than exposed EPS.

EPS Foam products Raw Material Manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam Raw Material Manufacturers of EPS Foam products Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam products raw material suppliers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Equipment manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam Equipment Manufacturers EPS Foam Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam production facilities Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam factories Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam EPS Architectural Shapes Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Blocks Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Insulated Concrete Forms ICFs Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Floatation / Flotation  Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Geofoam Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Insulation Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Packaging cut and molded Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Structurally Insulated Panel SIPS Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam EPS Foam professionals Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Consultants Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Contractors Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Engineers Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Researchers Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Sales people Expanded Polystyrene EPS Lost Foam: EPS Foam products Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Product Development Geofoam Sales Agents Geofoam Research & Education Recycling Drop off Locations Alabama SIPS Companies Packaging Companies Geofoam Professionals Geofoam Consultants Geofoam Engineers List Geofoam Contractors EPS Foam Broker, EPS Foam Whole-sale, EPS Foam wholesale, EPS Foam distributor, EPS Foam low cost, EPS Foam low price, EPS Foam lowest price, EPS Foam best price, EPS Foam unbeatable, EPS Foam Best price,  EPS Foam closest, EPS Foam fastest, EPS Foam easiest, EPS Foam best,  EPS Foam Products Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam, Raw Materials,  Resin Manufacturers Suppliers EPS Foam Products Raw Materials Resin Manufacturers & Suppliers of Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam Equipment Machine Manufacturers Adhesive EPS Foam Equipment & Machine Manufacturers: Adhesives, CNC Cutting Machines, Custom Equipment, Food & Drink Containers, ICFs, Packaging, & Recycling Equipment of Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam  CNC Cutting machines, Custom Food & Drink Containers ICF Packaging Recycling  EPS Foam Molding Aging Silo Continuous Pre-expander Batch Pre-expander Raw Materials  Boiler Room  Air-compressed Storage Tank Steam Storage Tank Air Compressor and Drier Pond and Cooling Tower Automatic Vacuum Shape Molding Machine Automatic Vacuum Block Molding Machines Hoppor for Machine Vacuum Tank Automatic Block Cutting Machines Blocks drying Room Shapes Drying Room EPS Foam Products Molding Equipment Manufacturers Machines Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam  Production Facilities  Manufacturers Molders Factories EPS Foam Products Production Manufacturers Molders Factories Facilities Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam Other end product related companies  EPS End Products Adhesives Architectural Shapes Blocks Coatings & sprays Domes Food & drink Containers Floatation / Flotation Expanded Beads / Bags Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) Floatation / Flotation Geofoam Insulation Packaging cut and molded Structurally Insulated Panel (SIPS) Lost Foam Foundry Patterns for Metal Casting Packaging Surf boards EPS Foam End Products Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam EPS, EPS Foam Flotation devices, contractors device, foam tanks, foam tubes, EPS Foam, EPS foam boat, EPS foam canoe, History of EPS Floatation, History of EPS Flotation Devices, Expanded Polystyrene, Build Boat, EPS foam Dock Systems, EPS foam technologies, EPS foam marine, EPS foam for kayak, costs of EPS foam floatation system, History of EPS Foam Floatation,

EPS Foam Flotation devices contractors device foam tanks foam tubes EPS Foam EPS foam boat EPS foam canoe History of EPS Floatation History of EPS Flotation Devices Expanded Polystyrene Build Boat EPS foam Dock Systems EPS foam technologies EPS foam marine EPS foam for kayak costs of EPS foam floatation system History of EPS Foam Floatation

 

Title:

History of EPS Foam (Aka Styrofoam Foam) Floatation / Flotation Devices Expanded Polystyrene Boat Flotation, Floating Homes, Floating Docks, Floating Platforms.

 

Introduction:

 

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) can be used for a variety of floatation devices, such as rafts, docks and billets. Buoyancy billets are usually produced in standard sizes but can be easily customized. They are suitable for fresh and salt water and are unaffected by winter temperatures. EPS billets can support 55 lbs. per cubic foot, which is significantly more than typical wood floatation devices. Since EPS is lightweight and easy to work with, installation and maintenance costs are low.

 

EPS buoyancy systems are safe for the environment. They are ozone friendly, no CFCs are used in their production, and they have no food value for marine animals. Growth of marine life in stagnant water does not impair the buoyancy of the billet and can be easily removed with a scraper.

 

EPS floatation structures exhibit excellent rebound characteristics with minimum rocking, provide less resistance to breaking waves and are quieter than those with other types of floatation such as drum floats.

 

Floatation:

 

In summer months, it is not unusual to find the nearest watering hole filled with people escaping the heat and enjoying the water as well as sights and sounds. Many water-related activities are made safer with the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) from floating docks to life-saving devices and buoys to surf and boogie boards. Whether you recognize it or not, EPS is everywhere on the waterfront.

 

Floatation devices have evolved over the years due to the introduction of new materials. Prior to the invention of foam plastics, in the early 1960s, wood or empty drums were commonly used in floatation docks. Due to its lightweight and buoyant characteristics EPS has become the most popular floatation product on the market today.

 

With a life expectancy of twenty years for exposed EPS, manufacturers began experimenting with various coatings to protect it from petroleum products floating in the water and to prolong its lifespan. The blocks were painted, encased in steel or aluminum, wrapped with fiberglass or covered with wood. By the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended and implemented regulations to require encapsulated foam in all marine installations. Approved coatings or encapsulations were at the discretion of each reservoir manager making it tedious for manufacturers and distributors to market their various products. Appendix C to 36 CFR Part 327, Shoreline Use Permit Conditions: Dock and Mooring floatation Standards, specified standards currently in place. The coatings must be warranted by the manufacturer not to crack, peel, slough or deteriorate from ultra-violet rays and to retain its performance properties against wake and ice for at least eight years.

 

Water absorption tests developed by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) does not specifically apply to floatation devices. The Corp of Engineers implements a majority of the standards followed by manufacturers and distributors. Frederic Hunt, a marina consultant, developed a simple test to determine water absorption of foam floatation docks. The Hunt Absorption Test is administered to obtain a preliminary indication of the relative absorption of foams. No governing body including the Corps of Engineers references this test as a standardized and reliable test. It is most widely used as an advertising and marketing tool.

 

Advancements in processing helped polyethylene coated expanded polystyrene gain wide acceptance. It is now the dominant floatation device due to its long life and durability. EPS billets are able to support 55 lbs per cubic feet, as compared to wood, which is approximately 20 to 40 times heavier, but can only support about 18 to 28 lbs. The polyethylene should be a minimal thickness of 0.125. For areas affected by ice, thicknesses should increase to at least 0.187 inch. The tubs have an estimated life span of over 40 years and even if the coating cracks or are punctured, it will remain buoyant for approximately 15 to 20 years. Corps of Engineers concluded that encapsulated floatation devices would last three to four times longer than exposed EPS.

EPS Foam products Raw Material Manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam Raw Material Manufacturers of EPS Foam products Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam products raw material suppliers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Equipment manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam Equipment Manufacturers EPS Foam Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam production facilities Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam manufacturers Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam factories Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam EPS Architectural Shapes Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Blocks Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Insulated Concrete Forms ICFs Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Floatation / Flotation  Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Geofoam Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Insulation Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Packaging cut and molded Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Structurally Insulated Panel SIPS Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam EPS Foam professionals Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Consultants Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Contractors Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Engineers Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Researchers Expanded Polystyrene EPS Foam Sales people Expanded Polystyrene EPS Lost Foam: EPS Foam products Expanded Polystyrene AKA Styrofoam EPS Foam Product Development Geofoam Sales Agents Geofoam Research & Education Recycling Drop off Locations Alabama SIPS Companies Packaging Companies Geofoam Professionals Geofoam Consultants Geofoam Engineers List Geofoam Contractors EPS Foam Broker, EPS Foam Whole-sale, EPS Foam wholesale, EPS Foam distributor, EPS Foam low cost, EPS Foam low price, EPS Foam lowest price, EPS Foam best price, EPS Foam unbeatable, EPS Foam Best price,  EPS Foam closest, EPS Foam fastest, EPS Foam easiest, EPS Foam best,  EPS Foam Products Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam, Raw Materials,  Resin Manufacturers Suppliers EPS Foam Products Raw Materials Resin Manufacturers & Suppliers of Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam Equipment Machine Manufacturers Adhesive EPS Foam Equipment & Machine Manufacturers: Adhesives, CNC Cutting Machines, Custom Equipment, Food & Drink Containers, ICFs, Packaging, & Recycling Equipment of Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam  CNC Cutting machines, Custom Food & Drink Containers ICF Packaging Recycling  EPS Foam Molding Aging Silo Continuous Pre-expander Batch Pre-expander Raw Materials  Boiler Room  Air-compressed Storage Tank Steam Storage Tank Air Compressor and Drier Pond and Cooling Tower Automatic Vacuum Shape Molding Machine Automatic Vacuum Block Molding Machines Hoppor for Machine Vacuum Tank Automatic Block Cutting Machines Blocks drying Room Shapes Drying Room EPS Foam Products Molding Equipment Manufacturers Machines Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam  Production Facilities  Manufacturers Molders Factories EPS Foam Products Production Manufacturers Molders Factories Facilities Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam Other end product related companies  EPS End Products Adhesives Architectural Shapes Blocks Coatings & sprays Domes Food & drink Containers Floatation / Flotation Expanded Beads / Bags Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) Floatation / Flotation Geofoam Insulation Packaging cut and molded Structurally Insulated Panel (SIPS) Lost Foam Foundry Patterns for Metal Casting Packaging Surf boards EPS Foam End Products Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam EPS, EPS Foam Flotation devices, contractors device, foam tanks, foam tubes, EPS Foam, EPS foam boat, EPS foam canoe, History of EPS Floatation, History of EPS Flotation Devices, Expanded Polystyrene, Build Boat, EPS foam Dock Systems, EPS foam technologies, EPS foam marine, EPS foam for kayak, costs of EPS foam floatation system, History of EPS Foam Floatation,

EPS Foam Flotation devices contractors device foam tanks foam tubes EPS Foam EPS foam boat EPS foam canoe History of EPS Floatation History of EPS Flotation Devices Expanded Polystyrene Build Boat EPS foam Dock Systems EPS foam technologies EPS foam marine EPS foam for kayak costs of EPS foam floatation system History of EPS Foam Floatation

 

Title:

History of EPS Foam (Aka Styrofoam Foam) Floatation / Flotation Devices Expanded Polystyrene Boat Flotation, Floating Homes, Floating Docks, Floating Platforms.

 

Introduction:

 

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) can be used for a variety of floatation devices, such as rafts, docks and billets. Buoyancy billets are usually produced in standard sizes but can be easily customized. They are suitable for fresh and salt water and are unaffected by winter temperatures. EPS billets can support 55 lbs. per cubic foot, which is significantly more than typical wood floatation devices. Since EPS is lightweight and easy to work with, installation and maintenance costs are low.

 

EPS buoyancy systems are safe for the environment. They are ozone friendly, no CFCs are used in their production, and they have no food value for marine animals. Growth of marine life in stagnant water does not impair the buoyancy of the billet and can be easily removed with a scraper.

 

EPS floatation structures exhibit excellent rebound characteristics with minimum rocking, provide less resistance to breaking waves and are quieter than those with other types of floatation such as drum floats.

 

Floatation:

 

In summer months, it is not unusual to find the nearest watering hole filled with people escaping the heat and enjoying the water as well as sights and sounds. Many water-related activities are made safer with the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) from floating docks to life-saving devices and buoys to surf and boogie boards. Whether you recognize it or not, EPS is everywhere on the waterfront.

 

Floatation devices have evolved over the years due to the introduction of new materials. Prior to the invention of foam plastics, in the early 1960s, wood or empty drums were commonly used in floatation docks. Due to its lightweight and buoyant characteristics EPS has become the most popular floatation product on the market today.

 

With a life expectancy of twenty years for exposed EPS, manufacturers began experimenting with various coatings to protect it from petroleum products floating in the water and to prolong its lifespan. The blocks were painted, encased in steel or aluminum, wrapped with fiberglass or covered with wood. By the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended and implemented regulations to require encapsulated foam in all marine installations. Approved coatings or encapsulations were at the discretion of each reservoir manager making it tedious for manufacturers and distributors to market their various products. Appendix C to 36 CFR Part 327, Shoreline Use Permit Conditions: Dock and Mooring floatation Standards, specified standards currently in place. The coatings must be warranted by the manufacturer not to crack, peel, slough or deteriorate from ultra-violet rays and to retain its performance properties against wake and ice for at least eight years.

 

Water absorption tests developed by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) does not specifically apply to floatation devices. The Corp of Engineers implements a majority of the standards followed by manufacturers and distributors. Frederic Hunt, a marina consultant, developed a simple test to determine water absorption of foam floatation docks. The Hunt Absorption Test is administered to obtain a preliminary indication of the relative absorption of foams. No governing body including the Corps of Engineers references this test as a standardized and reliable test. It is most widely used as an advertising and marketing tool.

 

Advancements in processing helped polyethylene coated expanded polystyrene gain wide acceptance. It is now the dominant floatation device due to its long life and durability. EPS billets are able to support 55 lbs per cubic feet, as compared to wood, which is approximately 20 to 40 times heavier, but can only support about 18 to 28 lbs. The polyethylene should be a minimal thickness of 0.125. For areas affected by ice, thicknesses should increase to at least 0.187 inch. The tubs have an estimated life span of over 40 years and even if the coating cracks or are punctured, it will remain buoyant for approximately 15 to 20 years. Corps of Engineers concluded that encapsulated floatation devices would last three to four times longer than exposed EPS.


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