Floating the idea of a perfect solution for houseboat hulls

Living on the water in London's Docklands thanks to expanded polystyrene EPS airpop

Living on the water in London’s Docklands thanks to EPS

airpop®, the new Europe-wide name for EPS (expanded polystyrene), is providing the perfect solution for twenty-first century living on water. With soaring house prices and fewer spaces to build houses in our major towns and cities, houseboats are proving to be the life-style of choice for many who want to escape the conventions of urban living.

Now airpop® – which is 98% air bound in a polymer matrix – has proved the perfect solution for manufacturing modern houseboat hulls because it can be easily shaped and offers economy, light weight, exceptional thermal and flotation performance and does not rot, mould or decay.

“airpop® – which is 98% air bound in a polymer matrix – has proved the perfect solution for manufacturing modern houseboat hulls.”

In London alone, an estimated 10,000 people now live on around 100 miles of the city’s waterways and some houseboats in sought-after locations in the capital are rumoured to fetch up to £2 million. In the south of England particularly, houseboats are also a growing trend for those who value the benefits of waterside life. One of the latest airpop® hulls known as “Dragonfly” has been constructed at West Sussex Yacht Club by Mark Salanson who has built hulls for large two-storey houseboats as well as smaller projects. When completed the new houseboat will eventually be located in one of Britain’s thriving houseboat communities on the River Adur in Shoreham by Sea. Mark said, “We can profile and finish airpop® to a very high standard and it is proving the ideal material for houseboat hulls. We have a number of firm orders and many ongoing enquiries for similar houseboats.”

airpop EPS expanded polystyrene airpop hull takes shape

airpop® EPS expanded polystyrene hull takes shape

Kay-Cel EPS 70 from Kay-Metzler was used in the construction of “Dragonfly”. Whilst many may be concerned about living on freezing water in the depths of the British winter, the material offers excellent thermal performance, with a thermal conductivity of 0.038w/mk. Stephen Mortimer, Business Development Manager at Kay Metzler said, “airpop® has very low water absorption properties even if it is immersed in water for long periods. In fact all of its characteristics make it an ideal material for long-term performance in marine use. Importantly, at the end of its life-cycle it can be fully recycled, for example our plant in Chelmsford has a full recycling facility to take clean airpop.”

The company also stressed that airpop is non-toxic and chemically inert – no CFCs or HCFCs are used in its manufacture and it has a summary rating of A+ in the BRE Green Guide.

Approximately 200 mainly small and medium sized converters in Europe process about 300,000 tonnes of raw material into airpop® sheet, blocks, parts and products. Main customers are construction, civil engineering, HVAC, computers and electronics, household goods producers and the food industry. Further information about the new name is available at www.airpop.com or in the video below:

The British Plastics Federation is the UK’s leading trade authority in plastics design, technical advancement and manufacture. Members of the EPS Group include: processors and converters of airpop®, raw material suppliers, suppliers of airpop® processing, manufacturing and auxiliary equipment, and recyclers of airpop®.