Production and characterization of the mechanical and thermal properties of expanded polystyrene with recycled material

Gina Paola Barrera Castro, John Jairo Olaya Florez, Luz Marina Ocampo Carmona


Three materials were made with mixtures of virgin expanded polystyrene (EPS) grade S3 and recycled material from multipurpose EPS packaging. The latter was subjected to washing and grinding in a blade mill, with percentages by weight of recycled material 10, 15, and 20%. The mechanical properties of these materials were evaluated by testing compressive strength and flexural,  impact, and thermal properties using the techniques of differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetry. Hot plate and steady state temperature profiles in a non-steady state were simulated with Octave 3.6.4. The results obtained for the three mixtures showed little variation in the properties of compression, impact, glass transition, and thermal diffusivity with respect to the reference material. The regularity of the decline in mass loss as a function of temperature evidences homogeneity in the samples. The flexural strength decreased the maximum failure load compared to the virgin material, and the thermal conductivity exceeded 0.06W/mK, reducing their insulating capacity. These materials can be industrially manufactured in order to produce packaging, caissons, and spheres, among other things.


Expanded polystyrene, EPS recycling, EPS properties.

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