11 September 2019 | Article

Expanded Polystyrene’s (EPS) natural make up of approximately 98% air, makes this material highly buoyant and ideal for the construction of floating mooring and docks. EPS products typically take advantage of the material’s superior strength to weight ratio, cushioning and thermal insulation, however if your application requires a level of buoyancy then EPS could well be the right material choice.

Expanded Polystyrene is also one of the best ridged foam materials where floatation is required. Not surprising, this property is now being exploited in the modern construction of durable, buoys, pontoons and even floating dwellings.

Most commonly buoys and pontoons take advantage of the Archimedes principle that states that any floating object must displace its own weight in fluid before it is fully submerged. So, the lighter the buoyant material, the more weight you can float on top of it. The fact that EPS is very lightweight and is packed of tiny air pockets, makes this material ideal for these applications.

A 300mm³ low density block of EPS (18g/l) weighing 500 grams can support approx. 25kg. This is equal to 50 times its own weight.

Foam Products, supplies EPS blocks that can be cut down and shaped for various types marine applications. The business has recently supplied both Northampton Sailing Club and Northumberland Amble Marina with pre-cut EPS blocks to facilitate their requirements for replacement and refurbishment of the buoyancy material used below the floating deck in the bottom of their pontoons.

Due to Foam Products EPS materials being lightweight and easy to cut and shape they are ideal for all sorts of applications where buoyancy is paramount:

  • Floating platforms and pontoons in marine areas for boat and yacht berthing and mooring
  • Small floating docks and swim platforms on private lakes and ponds
  • Off shore encapsulated buoys with EPS cores for weather and water probes
  • Marking and Signage buoys
  • Life-buoys / Surfing buoys
  • Other floatation applications – Surf boards and swimming training aids

Other material benefits

  • EPS is inert and does not leach chemicals – So will not harm any marine life
  • Simple to encapsulate and easy to cut, shape and customise
  • Super lightweight, straightforward to install and easy handling


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