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PU Insulation Foam Enables Thinner, More-Flexible Pipes

Image courtesy of Brugg Pipes/Huntsman Brugg Pipes' Flexstar
The material produced by Huntsman is used by Brugg Pipes in its new Flexstar pre-insulated pipes for ground-source heat pumps.

In collaboration with Switzerland-based Brugg Pipes, chemicals company Huntsman has developed a polyurethane (PU) foam with insulation properties that enables the production of highly flexible pre-insulated pipes suitable for connecting ground-source heat pumps and local heating units to domestic and commercial buildings. Brugg Pipes has applied the Suprasec Daltofoam TE system from Huntsman in its Flexstar products launched in January 2022.

The Suprasec Daltofoam TE system produces foam with better insulation properties (low lambda value) than polyethylene (PE), according to Huntsman, which has its European headquarters near Brussels. The insulation layer is thinner than PE but still delivers good overall insulation performance (low U-value). In addition, thinner, lighter pipes are more flexible, meaning they are quicker and easier to transport and install.

Demand for ground-source heat pumps that capture warm air outside and move it indoors is expanding in North America, Europe, and North Asia because it has a lower carbon footprint than alternative technologies, said Huntsman.

“We’d been wanting to enter the heat-pump market for a while and needed a competitive insulation solution that would enable us to quickly gain ground in this market,” said Bora Yayla, Head of Marketing at Brugg Pipes. “Key to our success was achieving a good degree of flex in our pre-insulated pipes to ensure ease of handling without compromising insulation performance. Pipes that are more flexible have a smaller winding radius, meaning they are easier to transport and quicker for heating engineers and installers to lay in confined spaces or where there are tight bends and building entry points to navigate. Working with Huntsman, we’ve achieved all of our project objectives, and orders for Flexstar are now being placed around the world,” said Yayla.

Flexstar pre-insulated pipes are designed specifically for use in local heat-pump systems and are made via a patented production process (according to DIN EN 15632-2 and DIN 4726) that ensures excellent bounding and longitudinal water tightness and a good oxygen diffusion barrier, said Brugg.

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