Quality and legal considerations
Construction foam is a universal genius. It can be used for mounting, sealing, insulating and adhesion. The regulations regarding PU foams are just as diverse as the possible application fields. Some important regulations are listed here, as are initiatives for the quality assurance of assembly foam.
CLP Regulation: Identification of chemical products
The aim of the CLP Regulation (Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging) is to ensure a high level of protection against injury and pollution for chemical products and to facilitate free movement of goods within the European Union.
People spend more time in closed rooms. This means that the quality of the ambient air and the emissions from the materials used are growing in importance. In the 1990s the Association for the Control of Emissions in Products for Flooring Installation, Adhesives and Construction Products (GEV) introduced the EMICODE to offer assurance to consumers about how to handle adhesives, sealing agents and insulating materials.
This is a competition-neutral classification system that assesses the emission behaviour of products based on a strict testing procedure. The system defines three quality levels: EC1plus (= very low-emission), EC1 (= very low-emission) and EC2 (= low-emission). Originally the EMICODE was developed for adhesives and sealing agents used on large surfaces, such as parquet flooring adhesives. For the past couple of years it has also been possible to test sealing agents based on the strict EMICODE guidelines which are used in much smaller quantities compared to e.g. PU foam. PU foams that were tested were classified as very low-emission with the label EC1plus.
PU foam for thermal insulation composite system (ETAG 004)
The current draft of the ETAG 004 lay out the conditions that need to be satisfied to ensure that construction foam is suitable for attaching thermal insulation composite system (WDVS). The guide for the European technical approvals (ETAG) has been a long established practice. The benefit of using assembly foams for adhesion lies in the fast hardening properties. After just two to three hours, work can continue on walls mounted with assembly foam. Cement-based adhesives must dry out for three to four days before the next work step is necessary. Also, craftsmen do not need any further tools at the building site.
Quality assurance for construction foam
Which PU foam is right for my purpose? To help users answer this question more easily, the European Society for Adhesives and Sealing Agents (FEICA) has developed standard measuring methods for 1K PU foams. The user can usually read the measuring results in the product data sheets which more and more manufacturers use to disclose the test results. The test looks at e.g. the foam yield, dimensional stability, tensile and compressive strength or also the time that a PU foam needs before it can be cut. According to the work group, the developed measuring methods will be continuously improved and enhanced.