Winter is the season of happiness and the chilly wind of winter can refresh us from inside. The most enjoyable part of the winter can be when you snuggle up in a comforting hoodie with a hot cup of coffee. But sometimes the weather can get so rigid that it can be dicing with death for the people living in the coldest places, e.g. Antarctica, where the temperature fluctuates between -70°c to -15°c.To survive the winters in Antarctica, staying warm as much as possible is the primary emphasis. 

You can think of  Insulation as the chief aspect of staying warm in such a cold place. How insulation can help you in winters? We will discuss here what can help in such a cold place to stay warm and is Styrofoam a good insulator? But before that, let’s see how insulation shields you from getting cold.

How Does Insulation Work?

The best way to keep yourself warm in the long days of winters is to turn your heater on or put layers of clothes on you. It stops the transfer of heat from one object to another by the process of insulation. The amount of heat loss becomes minimal as you put on more layers of clothes, keeping you warm. Let’s first get the idea of heat loss or how heat energy flows. Wrap up and read on.

Heat Loss 

Three methods for heat loss are conduction, radiation, and convection.


Heat transformation in liquid and gas by the movement of fluids. The expansion of liquid raises the temperature and produces a current known as a convection current.


Heat transfer occurs through thermal photons. It is most commonly applied to the emission of electromagnetic radiation.


It readily happens in solid objects where the particles are firmly close to each other. Transmission of  Heat energy occurs through the collision of neighboring molecules or atoms.

 Insulation is necessary to reduce heat loss and keep you warm in winters. Most common insulating objects work by slumping conductive and convective heat flow. In simple words, insulation works by stopping the heat flow from hotter substances to cooler.

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How Insulation Work

When you know how insulation works, you might be interested in learning how to make your house insulated? The best possible answer is Styrofoam. Authorities usually advise House owners to keep their walls insulated so the inside air does not escape from the walls making your house frostier.

Is Styrofoam a Good Insulator or Conductor?

A substance can be a conductor or insulator. Conductors usually allow the heat flow, and insulators inhibit the flow of heat. A substance can be a conductor or insulator. Conductors usually allow the heat flow, and insulators inhibit the flow of heat.

Specifically talking about Styrofoam, it is an excellent insulator as they have tiny air bubbles which trap the air within them and stop the flow of heat exchange between the interior and exterior environment of the wall. These are installed in the cavities of wall buildings in order to keep the warmth of the interior setting. Let’s see what Styrofoam is and what makes them a good insulator.

What is Styrofoam – Properties of Styrofoam

Styrofoam is the trademark expression for petroleum-based plastic foams, e.g., extruded polystyrene (XPS), that have applications in the construction of buildings. Polystyrene is a synthetic resin produced by the polymerization of styrene. It has a wide range of applications in food services, e.g., in food packaging and disposable eating utensils.  Knowing the characteristics of the materials would help to decide why to use Styrofoam as an insulation product. 

  • They are excellent insulators and shock absorbers. 
  • A handy feature of Styrofoam is that it is resistant to any rot, making it a clean material to seep moisturizer in the interior setting.
  • They are durable and long-lasting. The strength of its closed structure keeps it safe from losing its structure when shipped in large amounts.
  • It changes from liquid to solid hence also known as thermoplastics.
  • It is water-resistant and does not damage upon repeated freezing. These features make Styrofoam long-lasting without compromising on quality. 
  •  Lightweight polystyrene foam gives excellent thermal insulation for wall buildings and roofing. Use styrofoam as insulator

Styrofoam is composed of air and hence is a lousy conductor. Styrofoam is a convector that catches air in small pockets obstructing the heat exchange, further lowering the conduction and convection, making Styrofoam a good insulator. Styrofoam is used in wall buildings to keep the interior setting warm. They are durable and easy to clean; hence can be reused several times. Keeping the people and air inside the building warm is necessary for winter survival, especially in the coldest regions. Keeping yourself warm and insulating your walls can do the purpose.

Different kinds of Insulation

There are several different types of insulation, but the most common are as follows:

Thermal Insulation

Thermal insulation is the process of insulating materials by transferring heat from the material in thermal contact with each other. Thermal conductivity is kept low in thermal insulating materials. Styrofoam is a thermal insulator. The flow of heat from one edge to another is not easy where Styrofoam is installed. This lowers the thermal conductivity; hence the warmness of the inside will not be easily escaped through walls. 

Acoustic Insulation 

Acoustic insulation works by assembling mass, mass, and more mass. Different types of masses are gathered together to block the noise passing through the built structures. That’s how soundproof walls work. Dampening is necessary to stop the sound vibration from traveling through the buildings. The most effective way to do that is to decouple a wall and then add mass to it. 

Convection Experiments For kids

As of now, you can tell convection current occurs when there is no uniform distribution of heat. Let’s make all this easy for you. Try this simple experiment at home, and you can talk easily about convection current in your science class. This experiment will help you understand why we have a convection current.

What You Need For The Experiment:

  • Container 
  • Food coloring
  • A small bottle 

What to Do?

  • First, fill the container with room temperature water and leave it overnight.
  • Using food coloring, make ice cubes to differentiate the warm and cold air. The blue ice cubes represent the cold air, and the red one means the hot air.
  • Put the cubes in the container and notice the movement

Results And Discussions 

  • Blue cubes will sink as soon as coming in contact with container water, while red cubes will start to rise upwards and then get pushed to the edges.
  • The above-explained process is the same method as to how air works. The cold air stays down, and the hot air rises.

Convection current happens within the water, earth magma, and air that can happen to anything which is not solid and has a fluctuating temperature between its different regions.

A Classic example of convection current would be warm air rising toward the ceiling. Now, can you tell why it’s always hotter upstairs? Yes, because the warm air is less dense than cold air.


Q1. Why is Styrofoam a Good Insulator?

Styrofoam is about 98% air which is a lousy conductor of heat. Heat transfer is minimal and very difficult through the Styrofoam, making it an excellent insulator to use in buildings’ walls.

Q2. How Does Styrofoam Insulate?

Styrofoam has millions of tiny air bubbles trapped inside, which traps air. It reduces the conduction and convection, thus limiting the heat flow. Styrofoam is an excellent existing insulator.

Q3. Where is Styrofoam Insulation Used?

The Primarily use of Styrofoam is in the insulation of home walls and appliances. Styrofoam’s other benefits include food packaging, food services, surfboards, roadway, automobile parts, and road bank stabilization systems.

Q4. Is Styrofoam Water-Resistant?

Styrofoam is mainly composed of air and is light weighted. Styrofoam is water resistant but not water proof. It absorbs water with time and over many intervals.