While spray foam insulation as we know it today first appeared in the 1980s, its origins can be traced back several decades, starting with Otto Bayer’s invention of polyurethane foam in the 1940s.Do you want to learn more? Visit Stroudsburg spray foam insulation
In the late 1930s, an industrial chemist named Otto Bayer started experimenting with polyurethane in Germany. David Eynon, the president of Mobay, a war effort conglomerate formed by the merger of two chemical industry behemoths, Monsanto and the Bayer Corporation, introduced this technology in the early 1940s. Despite working for Bayer Corporation, Otto Bayer was not linked to the company’s founders.
Polyurethane polymers were primarily used in military and aircraft applications during the 1940s. For the period of World War II, most of the applications of these high-grade plastic polymers were driven by the manufacture of war machines.
Polyurethane was not used as a home insulation material until the 1950s. The invention of the “Blendometer” paved the way for polyurethane’s extension into the world of home insulation. Walter Baughman invented the Blendometer in 1953, which was the first computer capable of mixing components for the production of polyurethane foam.
The Blendometer allowed for the strategic mixing of chemicals to produce a plastic elastomer or expanding foam, as Baughman called it. When applied as a liquid, this plastic elastomer expanded into a dense foam that hardened after drying.
Humans tilted trays of chemicals to mix foam in Baughman’s Blendometer, which was still a partially manual operation. Although the machine allowed the use of polyurethane in home insulation and other home-related applications such as air conditioner insulation, it was still a young technology that made widespread use of polyurethane as a residential insulation material no less difficult.
Throughout the following decades, polyurethane polymers were used in a number of ways, with incredible advances in the material’s applications in the car industry in particular. However, it will take more than two decades for the foam to be commonly used in home insulation.
Fred Gusmer built the first dedicated spray technology system in 1963, based on Baughman’s invention. During the 1960s and 1970s, technical advances made the use of spray foam in home insulation more feasible and affordable.
The concept of the “super insulated” home was also born in the 1970s. Homebuilders and homeowners alike started looking for ways to increase the energy efficiency of their homes as a result of the energy crisis of the 1970s.
The crisis accelerated technological advances, laying the groundwork for new spray foam applications. Spray foam insulation is commonly used in home building and renovation projects thanks to the invention of advanced spray nozzle technology.
The spray foam nozzle separates the foam mixture from the chemical that gives it its expansion properties until just before application. The expansion chemical, isosynate, is responsible for the simple application and expansive nature of the spray foam mixture.
The foam mixture and the isosynate are applied to the application nozzle through separate hoses, mixing just seconds before being sprayed. The spray foam arrives at its destination as a liquid, but it rapidly expands into a foam and then cures into a hardened plastic.