Polyurethane is basically a plastic material that is highly flammable. Many buildings use exterior finishing materials which are flammable due to their high insulation properties and looks. However, South Korea has experienced massive fires in residential buildings and multi-purpose buildings due to plastic material exterior wall insulation panels. The use of such flammable materials was banned in November 2019.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure categorizes building materials into three types -- flame-retardant, flame-proof, and flame-resistant materials. It takes a long time for flame-resistant materials to catch fire while flame-proof materials like concrete, clay tiles, and bricks do not catch fire. Flame-retardant materials are a composite of chemicals that are extremely hard to be lit.
SK pucore said in a statement on December 19 that its polyurethane insulation material jointly developed with Lotte Engineering & Construction, Lotte Chemical, and two construction material makers -- SY Group and Geun Seung Insulationtech-- has passed a flame-retardant suitability test conducted by the Korea Conformity Laboratories. The test results were verified by the state-run Korea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS).
Insulation materials are normally used in a form of foams that are either sandwiched between exterior wall panels during the manufacturing phase or sprayed in between the wall and panels. Sprayed insulation foams inflate to completely fill the empty space.
SK pucore's insulation material was able to retain its flame-retardant capabilities thanks to the development of polyol, a backbone chemical used for the production of polyurethane foams. The newly-developed polyol-based material has high insulation and flame-retardant characteristics.
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