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Technical Note #106: EPS Direct to Metal Roof Decks Applications

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Cellofoam® expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation provides a low-cost, durable, and energy-efficient solution for roofing insulation.  Our insulation can be applied directly atop typical metal roof decks without a thermal barrier per 2015 International Building Code (IBC).  Such “direct-to-deck” metal roof applications are commonly used in commercial buildings and save both material and labor costs.  Cellofoam’s EPS insulations generally have a lower cost per R-value and a more stable R-Value over time than competing Polyisocyanurate and Extruded Polystyrene alternatives.  Containing no ozone-depleting blowing agents, EPS is also environmentally friendly and is available with pre-consumer recycled content for use in LEED-certified and other green building projects.

Cellofoam EPS insulation has been granted recognition by Underwriters Laboratories LLC (UL) for use directly on a metal roof deck without the use of code specified thermal barrier as shown on UL Construction No. 458, TGKX.458, Roof Deck Constructions. This recognition is documented in Cellofoam's UL File No. R7260, category codes TGFU and BRYX-01, and our UL Evaluation Report, ER-7260-01.  As noted in paragraph 6.3 and Table 1 of this Evaluation Report, Cellofoam’s plain EPS and Poly Shield® laminated sheathing are recognized as acceptable roofing insulations by UL for the following cases:
  • As part of a UL Classified Class A, B, or C roof-covering assembly in accordance with Test Standard UL 790, category code TGFU.
  • As part of a UL Classified Roof Deck Construction in accordance with Test Standard UL 1256
The IBC’s Section 2603.4 Thermal barrier requires foam plastic insulation to be separated from the interior of a building by an approved thermal barrier, with two exceptions.  One of these exceptions, Section 2603.4.1.5 Roofing notes that a thermal barrier is not required for foam plastic insulation that is part of a Class B, or C roof-covering assembly that is installed in accordance with the code and the manufacturer’s instructions and has satisfactorily passed NFPA 276 or UL 1256 testing with the insulation in place.1

Cellofoam North America Inc is proud to have helped sponsor industry testing of EPS insulated roofing assemblies for UL 1256 through the EPS Molders Association (now called the EPS Industry Alliance).  Test reports on fire tests of EPS roofing systems applied directly to fluted metal deck, Roof Construction No. 458, were conducted by Underwriters Laboratories LLC, File R18302, Project 96NK14112. 

The above information, attached with a copy of UL Construction No. 458, TGKX.458, Roof Deck Constructions, is featured in a recently written Cellofom Technical Note #106, EPS Direct to Metal Roof Decks, that can be found in our website’s Library section.2

Cellofoam Engineering Team

Technical Note #105: Incremental R-Value for Cellofoam Poly Shield® EPS Insulation with a Reflective Facer

Monday, January 14, 2019
Cellofoam's Poly Shield® heat laminated sheathing is made of Cellofoam expanded polystyrene (EPS) rigid insulation, faced on both sides with a tough poly laminate.  These facers add considerable strength and durability, enhancing the storing, handling, and installation of this high-efficiency and low-cost insulation.  A popular Poly Shield® option is to replace the clear poly laminate backing with a reflective metalized facer.  In a properly designed wall assembly, the reflective facer retards radiant heat flow and offers a significant increase in R-value, or thermal resistance, relative to non-reflective insulation.  This option is offered for all Poly Shield® EPS insulation products, including standard 4 x 8 ft sheathing as well as Fan-Fold configurations.

When properly installed in an appropriately designed wall system or assembly, expanded polystyrene insulation with a reflective facer can provide a boost in insulative performance due to its enhanced deterrence of radiative heat transfer.  Determining what this incremental R-value actually is compared to plain insulation is not a simple task as it is highly dependent upon a number of factors, including the reflectivity of the facer or its inverse, the effective emittance, the position of the dead air space (vertical, sloped, horizontal, etc.), the mean temperature of the wall assembly, the temperature differential from one side of the wall assembly to the other, the angular direction of the heat transfer through the wall assembly, and the depth of designed-in dead air space that the reflective side faces.  The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Handbook provides tabular data for this incremental R-value for insulation based on variations of these parameters.  These variations are quite extensive, and with different assumptions a wide range in incremental R-values can be found.  The “dead air space” is an enclosed and unventilated air cavity designed to minimize air flow into and out of the cavity.

To simplify determining the incremental R-values for wall sheathing applications, Cellofoam’s technical team recently put together Technical Note 105 - Incremental R-Value for Cellofoam Poly Shield® EPS Insulation with a Reflective Facer and posted it to our website’s library at https://www.cellofoam.com/library.htm.   This effort amounted to acquiring the appropriate information for vertical walls from the ASHRAE 2013 Handbook using Table 3, pp 26.13 - 26.14, Effective Thermal Resistance of Plane Air Spaces, and plotting the data as a function of dead air space and effective emittance of the facer.  The data was then curve-fit with cubic polynomials and appears in Figure 1 of the Tech Note. Since the metalized reflective facer used in Poly Shield® EPS insulation has an effective emittance of about 0.15, we used these curve-fits to acquire and plot values for the R-value increment of Cellofoam Poly Shield® EPS insulation for the different dead air spaces, as shown in Figure 2 of the Tech Note.   

This information shows that a dead air space of about three-fourths of an inch can provide an R-value increment of 2.2 for Cellofoam Poly Shield® EPS insulation when it is manufactured with its reflective facer option and the insulation is correctly installed in a wall system designed with an enclosed and unventilated air cavity.  Similarly, air spaces of even as small as half of an inch can provide an incremental R-value of slightly over 2.0, and larger dead air spaces of 3.5 or 5.5 inches can significantly improve the insulation’s thermal resistance by roughly 2.1 and 2.2, respectively.  This incremental R-value is added to that provided by just the insulation alone.

Dr. Harry Karasopoulos, 14 Jan 2019

VP of  Engineering & Business Development

Cellofoam North America Inc

One Source Services, LLC and Cellofoam North America Inc. Agreement

Saturday, December 15, 2018
Lake of the Ozarks’ One Source Services, LLC (One Source Services) and Georgia-based Cellofoam North America Inc. (Cellofoam) have signed a long-term Authorized Dealer Agreement. 

Effective immediately, One Source Solutions will have access to Cellofoam’s line of Permafloat® performance dock floatation, Permaport® drive-on personal watercraft docks, the Permalaunch® kayak and canoe launch, lift tanks, and other marine products. One Source Services will employ these products in their construction of residential and commercial docks, and will also distribute Cellofoam marine products for the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri with a focus on the Lake of the Ozarks region.
 “We are very pleased to have forged this strategic alliance with a premier residential and commercial dock construction, marine service and distribution company in the Lake of the Ozarks region. One Source Services provides an integrated solution to its customer’s marine needs that Cellofoam’s products can significantly enhance, making this a win-win for both companies as well as for the customers they will be servicing,” said Alejandro Guevara, Cellofoam’s Vice President of Sales. 

One Source Services, LLC, is located in Linn Creek, Missouri, provides a one-stop solution to Lake of the Ozarks’ customer's needs using best-in-class products and services with highly trained professionals. The company offers a variety of services for all lake customer needs, including commercial and residential galvanized & aluminum docks, boat lifts, boat dock design, retaining walls, rip rap shoreline protection, wave attenuation, seawall repair, shoreline stabilization & protection, and barge service. Their recent acquisitions include Rock Works, The Designing Edge, Iron Works, and One Source Docks. 

Cellofoam North America Inc. has its headquarters located in Conyers, GA, and is a provider of exceptional products, solutions, and services that enhance applications used in the Building & Construction, Packaging, Cold Chain, and Marine/Custom Rotational Molding markets. Composed of three strategic divisions, Cellofoam operates more than 14 manufacturing, design and testing facilities throughout North America.

Meet our New Director of Sales for Cellofoam North America’s Packaging Division

Monday, May 14, 2018

We are pleased to announce, effective May 15, 2018, Ron Dalton has been promoted to Director of Sales for Cellofoam North America’s Packaging Division. Ron has been with our company since 2017.

With his 35+ years of experience and knowledge in our industry, it is no understatement to say that Ron understands our packaging products and customer base from all perspectives. His leadership and exemplary commitment to our company have been an important part of our success.

In his new role as Sales Director, Ron will have increased responsibility and authority to shape the strategic direction of the Packaging Division and its Sales Team. Please join me in congratulating Ron on his well-deserved promotion. Best regards, Alejandro Guevara Vice President of Sales

EPS Geofoam Interface Coefficient of Friction

Friday, February 23, 2018
Recently, we were asked in an RFI (Request For Information) from a contractor about what friction coefficient they should assume for Geofoam-to-Geofoam interfaces.  The following technical note attempts to provide additional insight on this topic.


Like all of our competitors we are familiar with, Cellofoam North America Inc. is an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam manufacturer and not an engineering consulting firm. Thus, it is beyond our scope as a manufacturer of EPS Geofoam to provide design services on the specific use of our product. Users of our Geofoam should obviously consult with appropriate engineering experts to determine the exact type or specifications of Geofoam required for their project to meet structural and other design requirements as well as jurisdictional building codes. We expect purchasers to use Geofoam in accordance with existing industry-standard practices, such as those defined in ASTM D7180, Standard Guide for Use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam in Geotechnical Projects.1

What is Cellofoam Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam?

Cellofoam produces EPS Geofoam in many different types and specifications, manufactured to meet ASTM D6817, Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam.2 We produce Geofoam with compressive resistance at one percent strain ranging from approximately 3.6 psi to 18.6 psi.3 Our Geofoam typically comes in block sizes and can easily be cut on-site with hot-wire tooling or saws. We also offer pre-cut taper options to fit your project’s requirements, made to specification. 

EPS Geofoam Applications

Cellofoam’s EPS Geofoam has been used in a very broad range of projects including slope stabilization, highway, road, retaining walls, parking structures, landscaping, pool decks, and cinema seating that require a lightweight structural fill solution. It is ideal for use in a commercial building, construction, and roadway applications, due, in part, to its high durability, high compressive strength, and lightweight nature.

For more on the many ways expanded polystyrene Geofoam can be used, visit our Geofoam page.

A Quick Survey of Published Geofoam-to-Geofoam Friction Coefficients

A number of industry researchers have conducted tests to determine the friction coefficient for EPS Geofoam per ASTM D5321, Standard Test Method for Determining the Coefficient of Friction by the Direct Shear Method.4 A survey of the pertinent literature shows a rather wide range of reported Geofoam-to-Geofoam coefficients of friction.  This is likely primarily due to differences in test specimen dimensions, the roughness of the EPS surfaces, moisture, UV exposure, applied normal loads, and other factors.  

One excellent study (Sheeley and Negussey 2000)2 investigated the interface friction between Geofoam and various construction materials, including concrete and geomembranes, as well as Geofoam-to-Geofoam in both wet and dry conditions. Results showed density, sample size, stress level, and surface moisture had no significant impact on Geofoam-to-Geofoam interface strengths. A typical stress level common with Geofoam applications, the study found Geofoam-to-Geofoam friction coefficients to be generally above 0.7 and 0.9 for residual and peak conditions, respectively.  

Interestingly, Sheeley and Negussey also looked into the use of binder plates and revealed them to have questionable performance in enhancing Geofoam-to-Geofoam interface strength. This supports at least one prior study recommending not to use binder plates in normal Geofoam fill applications. Further, they showed while Geofoam-to-concrete interface strength was much higher than that of Geofoam-to-Geofoam, Geofoam-to-geomembranes interface strength was much lower, to the degree that the authors warned that substitution of a concrete load distribution slab with a geomembrane would provide a much weaker interface. 

The EPS Industry Alliance’s report, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam Applications & Technical Data, gives the coefficient of friction of EPS Geofoam of 0.5 along molded or hot wire cut faces and states it is higher for blocks with roughly (presumably mechanically) cut faces.6 This number appears to be quite conservative, however, as other sources such as the Norwegian Road Research Laboratory reportedly use a coefficient of friction of 0.7 for Geofoam-to-Geofoam and Geofoam-to-subsoil interfaces.7 Further, an extremely thorough overview of Geofoam sponsored by the National Academies, Geofoam Applications in the Design and Construction of Highway Embankments, reports that the range in Geofoam-to-Geofoam coefficients of friction found in the literature is 0.5 - 0.7, while 0.64 is “the value reported in the most extensive and detailed published study to date...” 8

EPS Geofoam Friction Coefficient: The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that based on the above - and other - industry test results, while some researchers recommend designers assume a coefficient of friction of 0.6 for a Geofoam-to-Geofoam interface, the jury is still out on what this number should be. Ultimately, however, it is the responsibility of the project engineer to make this determination and use EPS Geofoam in accordance with existing industry-standard practices, such as those defined in ASTM D7180.

Have further questions regarding the information contained in this technical note? Speak to one of our expanded polystyrene EPS product experts and we will be glad to provide you with any data or specifications you require.

Harry Karasopoulos, Ph.D.
VP of Engineering & Business Development
Cellofoam North America Inc.
29 January 2018

1. ASTM International, ASTM D7180, “Standard Guide for Use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam in Geotechnical Projects,” Approved 2005, Reapproved 2013, https://www.astm.org/Standards/D7180.htm.
2. ASTM International, ASTM D6817, “Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam,” Approved 2015, https://www.astm.org/Standards/D6817.htm.
3. Please see our technical datasheets for more information.
4. ASTM International, ASTM D5321, “Standard Test Method for Determining the Coefficient of Friction by the Direct Shear Method,” Approved 2017, https://www.astm.org/Standards/D5321.htm.
5. Sheeley, Michael, and Negussey, Dawit, “An Investigation of Geofoam Interface Strength Behavior,” Soft Ground Technology Conference, May 28 - June 2, 2000, Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands.
6. Stark, Timothy, et al., “Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam Applications & Technical Data,” The EPS Industry Alliance, December 2011.
7. Norwegian Road Research Laboratory (NRRL), Norwegian Public Roads Administration, “Use of Expanded Polystyrene in Road Embankments,” Oslo, Norway, August 1992.
8. Stark, Timothy, et al., “Geofoam Applications in the Design and Construction of Highway Embankments,” National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, page 2-53, July 2004.

Role of Temperature Controlled Packaging in Pharmaceuticals

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The pharmaceutical and medicine business is a booming, billion-dollar industry that relies on cutting edge science, high technology machinery, and research from some of the sharpest minds around the globe. Many times, the final link to successful execution relies on the shipping industry and, in some instances, cold chain shipping solutions and temperature-controlled packaging, to ensure that products arrive on time and in good condition.

Cold Chain Shipping and Pharmaceuticals

Cold chain shipping is vital for the pharmaceutical and biochemical industry. Without it, many medications that are temperature-sensitive would not reach their destination unspoiled and in good health. Patients would need to turn to other alternatives (if they existed) for their pharmaceutical needs and some medical advances would not even be possible.

Take a medication such as insulin for example. Diabetics rely on it to help control their blood sugars. Many forms of insulin require refrigeration before - and after - delivery. Changes in temperature can spoil the product or lessen its effectiveness. Without proper packaging, this medication would not arrive in usable condition to the pharmacy, much less the patient’s home.

Temperature-controlled packaging is important to the research side of the pharmaceutical industry as well. Ingredients and biomaterials, used for the testing and creation of new medicines, often have temperature requirements as well, and so rely on cold chain shipping just as much as the consumer side does.

We have all seen episodes of shows such as E.R. and Grey's Anatomy, where, inevitably, a patient will need an organ transplant, and doctors frantically rush to deliver an organ to a needy patient without the temperature falling below or above a certain amount. This is an all too real (if not less dramatic) situation that calls on a specialized form of temperature controlled packaging to keep organs at a constant temperature.

Finally, an often overlooked area of pharmaceuticals that rely on cold chain shipping is the veterinarian world. Medications made specifically for animals has the same concerns as their human counterparts and, again, shipping coolers, gel refrigerants, and insulated coolers all have their place in the packaging needs for veterinarian supplies.

At the end of the day, cold chain shipping means one thing to Big Pharma: getting medical goods from one location to the next without being spoiled, damaged, or ruined. And for that, you need temperature-controlled packages!

Want to learn more about cold chain shipping and temperature-controlled packers? Give our team of experts a call!

Role of Temperature Controlled Packaging in Pharmaceuticals

Benefits of Green Packaging

Thursday, June 30, 2016
Benefits of Green Packaging

Smart business owners are always on the lookout for the best packaging and shipping options when it comes to presenting - and delivering - their products. In addition to protection and cushioning. aesthetics and how lightweight a material is, are also important factors. But how about eco-friendliness? What are the advantages of "green packaging?"

Benefits of Green Packaging

In a previous blog post, we discussed some different types of green packaging and looked at what constituted eco-friendly packaging- you can find that blog here: https://cellofoam.com/whatsnew/the-future-of-packaging, Some green packaging materials include recycled content, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam packs, wine shippers, etc.

Today we are going to pick up where we left off and chat about the benefits of going green and how using environmentally-friendly packaging can help not just the world, but your company as well.

Lower Costs

Part of the principal behind green packaging is eliminating excess material. In doing so, a company can actually reduce costs associated with packaging (and shipping) over other traditional shipping options. Using custom packaging options, such as custom EPS foam, you can create packs that fit your products without sacrificing on protection or cushioning - in fact, you would be enhancing it, all while saving money.

Brand and Marketing

Another byproduct of eco-friendly packaging is the fact that it is good for your company's image. Consumers and investors alike prefer businesses that practice environmentally friendly techniques, such as energy and green packaging. It shows that a company cares about the world around them and looks at the innovative ways to cut costs - a win-win to the marketplace and Wall Street as well.

Many Options to Choose From

Sustainable packaging comes in a vast array of types, sizes, and materials. Everything from void filler, foam end caps, wine shippers, and cold chain supplies such as temperature-controlled packaging for food goods and pharmaceuticals. If there is a shipping product, you can be certain there is an environmentally friendly option for it.


If you choose an option such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging. you have the benefit of being eco-friendly, yet highly durable and extremely lightweight, without losing any cushioning or protection. In fact, you will be gaining a higher degree of damage resistance with the addition of this material.

Good for the Environment

This list would not be complete without noting that, above all else, green packaging is good for the environment and the future of our planet. That reason alone makes eco-friendly shipping the right choice -  the other benefits are just icing on the proverbial cake!

If you are in the market for packaging products, give Cellofoam a call and see how our line of wine shippers, EPS foam packaging, custom EPS packaging, and rotational molding can help your business "go green" and "save green" (ie: money) at the same time!

The Future of Packaging

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
The Future of Packaging

There is a lot of news clogging the airwaves these days with regards to the shipping and delivery industry. While a lot of it centers around "neat" ways your pizza will be delivered in the coming years, if you sniff around enough, you will find some more realistic bits of information about just where things may be headed. Robots and drones, you say? But how about the packaging industry? What does the future of packages look like?

The Future of Packaging

As time passes by, new technology seems to proliferate for any given field; some of these exciting new discoveries stick, while others become a passing fad, casualties of poor marketing, high cost, or too much competition. The packaging industry is not immune to this tumultuous sea of ever-shifting technologies, but there are always mainstays we can rely on and some future packaging options that stand clearly above the rest as contenders for the next generation of innovators.

One trend we see a growing year by year is sustainable packaging. Also known as "green packaging" or "eco-friendly packaging", the idea behind sustainable packaging is that the materials you use to ship with meet some - if not all - of the following criteria:

  • Made from recyclable materials
  • Easily recyclable
  • Biodegradable
  • Reusable
  • Are manufactured in an energy-efficient manner 
  • Use less natural resources during the manufacturing process
There are many products on the market today that fit the “eco-friendly packaging” billing. Everything from traditional corrugated (cardboard) packaging, to more innovative approaches, such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam shippers and recycled tape. Weeding out the best "green" option can sometimes be difficult, but we will leave that for another topic!

An area of growth we see in the packaging industry is the growth of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam as a packaging material. Made out of plastic beads, EPS offers many advantages over other packaging options: it is lightweight, extremely durable, recyclable, machine moldable (meaning you can create custom packaging), and contains no ozone-depleting chemicals - a win all around the board.

From the food side of the packing business, researchers are pulling out all of the stops as they try to eliminate every piece of wasted materials that they can. Some manufacturers have begun to create potato chips bags made entirely of edible material. The idea behind this type of package is that when you are finished with the chips, you can eat the bag - no mess or waste! How you keep the bags clean enough to eat while being stored on a grocery shelf, we are not certain, but it certainly is an interesting concept! Weeding out the best "green" option can sometimes be difficult. We believe, however, the products Cellofoam manufactures satisfy any "eco-friendly" strategy.

White Woven Insulation

Thursday, January 15, 2015
White Woven Insulation


Cellofoam’s WHITE WOVEN SHEATHED INSULATION comes with a white woven polypropylene membrane on Type I EPS core panels providing a superior insulating option for buildings utilizing pole construction design. There are a number of good reasons for the current interest in pole construction.

  1. In pole construction, the poles actually have an inherent ability to resist wind uplift – highly desirable in areas where hurricanes or tornadoes are expected.
  2. A limited amount of grading is required, and no excavation is necessary beyond digging the pole holes.  Thus it can be accomplished with a minimal disturbance of the natural surroundings such as tree roots and topsoil.
  3. Pole construction offers a way to lower building costs by utilizing if desired, step hillside locations that present problems for more conventional construction. 
  4. No delays in waiting for cement foundations to cure.

Benefits of White woven sheathed insulation include:

  • Specifically engineered hybrid mesh design.
  • High tensile strength.
  • Enhanced flexibility and conforming properties - even on difficult designs.
  • Reliable self-adhesion to eliminate de-bonding.
  • Completely mold and mildew resistant, unlike traditional fiberglass insulation.
  • Protects against summer heat gain and winter heat loss!
  • Real savings in construction cost and later in operational efficiency.
  • Equal or better performance in 1/6th or less the thickness.
  • The use of EPS as the insulating material can save up to 150 times the amount of oil and energy used in its manufacture.

Cellofoam’s  WHITE WOVEN SHEATHED INSULATION comes with a reflective metalized membrane on one side and a durable white finished woven polypropylene laminated membrane on the other side. It is easy to wash at high pressure and to maintain. Acid tested, it has a tensile strength of 170 pounds per square inch assuring you a lifetime of use.

Use where you want a clean, washable, and durable bright white finish. Installed on the inside of a large warehouse or agricultural building, the white face may be left as a clean and bright interior finish. Renovators recognize its advantages and many architects are specifying the material in their designs.




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Cellofoam North America Inc.
1977 Weaver Court
Conyers, GA 30013 


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