Polyolefin vs Elastomeric Insulation

Modern construction must have insulation because it protects building structures from heat and sound. Additionally, it aids in maintaining energy efficiency and indoor temperature control. Elastomeric and polyolefin are the two main categories of insulating materials.

Elastomeric insulation
This type of insulation typically consists of a chemically blown mixture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR). Mixing, extrusion, shaping, and heating are the fundamental manufacturing processes. The heating process causes the elastomeric component of the product to become crosslinked, or vulcanised, and the chemical blowing agent to break down, generating mostly nitrogen gas.

Elastomeric insulation has a much higher elasticity, making it ideal for applications where insulation needs to conform to irregular shapes and curves; and not for outdoor applications as they are susceptible to degradation due to weathering. It is also very durable and can withstand extreme temperature changes, making it a popular choice for industrial and commercial insulation applications. They are used to reduce condensation on HVAC systems, for plumbing hot and cold water, duct insulation and hot water heating systems.

Polyolefin insulation
The main component of polyolefin pipe insulation is polyethylene resin, one of many resins in the polyolefin family. This leads to the product often frequently being called polyethylene insulation. Polypropylene and ethylene vinyl acetate are further resins in the same family. Insulation made of polyolefin is perfect for usage outside due to its great resistance to moisture, chemicals, and UV rays. Additionally, they are lightweight and simple to handle, making them a well-liked option for do-it-yourself tasks and insulation upgrades.

When it comes to thermal performance, polyolefin insulation has a higher R-value, meaning it provides better insulation against heat transfer. However, elastomeric insulation has better acoustic properties, meaning it provides better sound insulation and can reduce noise transmission. When it comes to outdoor applications, polyolefin insulation is the best due to its high moisture and UV radiation resistance. They also remain unaffected by water and soil conditions, making them ideal for underground purposes.

Polyolefin or Elastomeric?
Due to their closed-cell structure, both types of insulation share some similar properties, although they do have different manufacturing processes. Effects of high and low temperatures, flexibility, and burning properties vary between these two. These variations result from the manufacturing procedures and the polymers that were employed to create the items.

Polyolefin insulation products are thermoplastic, whereas elastomeric insulation is crosslinked (thermoset). Elastomeric insulation does not melt when exposed to extremely high temperatures; instead, it will continue to crosslink gradually, which will cause the product to harden. The product only loses flexibility after installation, which is typically not a major worry, but it retains the same thermal conductivity properties as it hardens.

In terms of cost, polyolefin pipe insulation is usually more affordable than elastomeric insulation. However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of both materials and choose the one that best suits the specific requirements of your project. For example, while polyolefin insulation may be cheaper upfront, elastomeric insulation may be more cost-effective in the long run due to its superior durability and performance.

Depending on your requirements, make an accurate choice before sourcing the best products from reputed manufacturers and suppliers like Delta Duct. Known for manufacturing quality products and offering reliable solutions, Delta Duct is a well-known supplier for all your air conditioning needs!