Lemfoerde, Germany -- Building blocks made of clay filled with rigid polyurethane foam insulation are being promoted by BASF Elastogran as a construction material of the future.
Such blocks reverse the process used to manufacture of ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) in which hollow blocks made of insulating foam are filled with concrete during construction.
But both methods provide simple construction technologies which can, with PU foam, offer the excellent insulation needed in the modern world to conserve vital energy resources.
BASF points out that nowhere is the need to save more than in private housebuilding, where architects and developers are "turning more and more to new energy-saving concepts."
These new pre-insulated blocks save time and money, BASF said. In a conventional building, a typical external wall consists of either a double wall structure with core insulation, or a single wall with additional external insulation. Both of these alternatives are costly and are relatively time consuming to build.
Using this new monolithic brickwork made from hollow blocks with thermal insulation already built in, no additional insulation is necessary, and users can make "substantial savings on construction time and costs," the company notes.
Where mineral wool and perlite were used before to fill hollow blocks, even better levels of insulation are provided by the polyurethane rigid foam (Elastopor H from BASF).
Rising energy costs and ever tighter regulations on insulation mean that the building industry has a strong focus on heat conductivity - the lower this value, the better the insulation, BASF points out.
The company E. Knobel GmbH & Co. KG in Albstadt, Germany, makes the blocks, called Liapor SL-plus, using Lias clay, with a cavity filled with Elastopor H.