One of the oldest forms of commercial insulation is cellular glass insulation. It was first used to insulate a commercial roof in 1943. It is extremely durable and very environmentally friendly as it is composed of glass that has been crushed and then mixed with an agent that turns it into cellular glass insulation.
To manufacture cellular glass insulation the cellulating agent is combined with the glass, in a crushed form, and then it is heated until it reaches a temperature of around 900 degrees fahrenheit. At this temperature the glass melts and then combines with the agent. This causes the composition to expand to the boundaries of the container it is in. As the composition gets bigger it forms a honeycomb of interconnected cells that form the rigid cellular glass insulation material.
The finished form of the cellular glass insulation material is supplied in board or block forms and can be either tapered or flat. Cellular glass insulation has most of the properties that people are looking for in an insulating material. It cannot be penetrated by water and is very resistant to all but the most powerful chemicals. It is fire-resistant, does not age and is not easily miss-shapen. Because it is composed primarily of glass it is extremely inert. This means that it does not change very much whatever the external influences placed on it. Cellular glass insulation is one of the best fire rated insulating materials on the market today.
There are a few minor drawbacks with cellular glass insulation. It is often provided with a paper back and face when supplied in board form so that other building materials can adhere to it. Unfortunately this means that it is able to absorb a small amount of water and this reduces it's overall effectiveness slightly. It is extremely rigid and so does not easily compress to fill all of the gaps that are between the cellular glass rigid insulation and the surface it is installed against. Another minor problem is that it is an abrasive form of insulation. This means that you need to be careful when installing it with metal corrosion resistant fixings. It is possible for the cellular glass insulation to scratch off the protective coating that the fasteners have and this can lead to corrosion.
Nowadays the biggest manufacturer of cellular glass insulation is Pittsburgh Corning Corporation. Over many years their cellular glass insulation product, known as foamglas, has established itself as versatile good value, high performance product. It possesses all of the classic cellular glass insulation properties. It is extremely rigid, lightweight and is comprised of many thousands of sealed glass cells. Each of the cells stands alone as an insulator and the foamglas product is best know for its long term performance and high specification insulation properties. All forms of the foamglas product have been tested to the very highest standards that industry demands and it is resistant to corrosion, has a very high compressive strength and is extremely stable.
Cellular glass insulation is fast becoming the most popular insulation for roof areas but the specifications of the building supervisor will determine if it is right for you.
Rigid cellular glass insulation is made from a honeycomb of interconnected cells