Spray foam insulation was first introduced to the public as an affordable and effective alternative to traditional fiberglass insulation. It was first offered in the 1960s, giving higher insulation values to homes than regular insulation. As a bonus, it is also known to prevent air leaks and provide a barrier against moisture. However, there have been health problems reported due to use of the product, leading many people to wonder what the ingredients are in spray insulation.
How Spray Foam Insulation Works
There are 2 components in spray foam insulation that combine to create a product that first expands and then hardens. Side A and side B are mixed in equal volumes to form long-chain molecules known as polymers. Side A usually contains isocyanates, which are a group of highly reactive chemicals characterized by isocyanate groups, or a nitrogen atom double-bonded to a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom. Isocyanates in side A react with polyols in side B to form polyurethane. Polyols in side B are a type of chemical that contains multiple hydroxyl groups. The side also contains other proprietary ingredients.
There are many types of isocyanates used to make spray foam insulation. Methylene biphenyl diisocyanate or MDI and toluene diisocyanate or TDI are some of the most common. These isocyanate compounds are used in other products besides just spray foam including auto body repair, paint and varnishes.
In addition to polyols, side B also contains chain extenders. These are special types o fpolyols that contain short chains of molecules that act as glue between longer strains of molecules forming the polymer. The catalysts facilitate the reaction between the isocyanate and the polyol. Side B also contains a blowing agent that causes the foaming. Surfactants in side B help control the foaming and the blowing agent is responsible for actually causing the foam. Without the blowing agent, polyurethane spray foam insulation would just be a solid substance.
Once applied, spray foam cures and hardens. The chemicals it is made up of do not continue to release gasses. however, if exposed to the foam, the chemicals can irritate mucous membranes, especially around the eyes and in the digestive and respiratory tracts. Exposed skin areas can also become inflamed. People can develop a sensitivity, resulting in an allergy that wasn’t there before.
If you’re looking to upgrade the insulation in your home, spray insulation is a great choice. Just hire a skilled professional to install it for you and enjoy lower costs on heating and cooling. Click the link below for more information and a free quote on spray form insulation installation.