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What is the difference between PIR and EPS sandwich panels?

PIR and EPS are rigid insulating materials used as insulation in the production of sandwich panels for the construction of almost any building: from manufacturing plants and factories to all types of warehouses and even residential dwellings.

At first glance, the insulators have approximately the same characteristics, but there are differences.

Polyisocyanurate foam or PIR is a polyurethane-based fireproof insulation material. When sandwich panels are manufactured with PIR, the space between the metal sheets is filled with fire-resistant polyisocyanurate foam in a continuous sandwich panel production line. As a result, the thermal insulation layer of the sandwich panels becomes homogeneous, which improves the strength and thermal properties of sandwich panels with PIR compared to EPS panels.

Expanded polystyrene foam or EPS is a foam-based insulation material. The granulated polymeric raw material is foamed with steam, dried and stabilized, after which EPS blocks are formed. When manufacturing sandwich panels with EPS, the foamed polystyrene is cut into sheets and glued to the metal cladding, which adversely affects the strength and thermal properties of the panels.

Thermal conductivity

The thermal conductivity of sandwich panels with PIR is 0.022 W/m*K, the lowest of all modern insulators.

EPS has a higher thermal conductivity: 0.037 W/m*K on average. At first glance, the difference is small. However, by simple calculations it can be estimated that, under the same environmental conditions, a sandwich panel building with polystyrene foam will retain heat and cold 1.68 times (68%) worse than sandwich panels with PIR polyisocyanurate foam insulation. Therefore, by choosing sandwich panels with PIR, you can save money on heating and cooling.


Due to its low coefficient of thermal conductivity, a 100 mm thick PIR sandwich panel will keep out cold or heat just as well as a 160 mm thick EPS panel. This means that by using sandwich panels with PIR, the saving in the thickness of each wall is about 60 mm of usable area.

Fire safety

The fire resistance limit of wall and roof sandwich panels with PIR of 100 mm thickness and above – EI30 and RE30 respectively, the fire resistance limit of panels with EPS will be at the level of EI 15 and RE15 at any insulation thickness. This means that, in case of fire, the panel with PIR will maintain its load-bearing capacity and integrity 30 minutes after the fire, while sandwich panels with EPS will lose these properties after 15 minutes.

Rodent resistance

PIR is a solid material with closed cells and rigid structure, so it is not a rodent-proof material. EPS is made up of single, unconnected cells that rodents can extract. EPS is softer and not as dense as PIR, so that mice can pierce it.

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