Editor: Steffen, you work for BASF since 2015—can you briefly describe what your responsibilities are?
Steffen Kahrmann: At BASF I’m a specialist in Fire Safety Engineering and regulatory issues that concern our insulation and raw materials EPS, XPS and Polyurethane. My tasks are diverse. They include conducting fire tests with insulation boards made of our raw material Neopor® and various façade systems. I support my colleagues in product development with fire safety related questions and I’m the contact for many cooperation partners with whom we carry out fire safety research.
As a representative of our industry I participate in projects run by the European Commission and other bodies. One of these projects develops a testing and classification system to harmonize façade fire testing in Europe.
Additionally, I work in international standardization. As German delegate to the technical committee ISO/TC 92 Fire Safety, I’m a member of different subcommittees on fire initiation and smoke toxicity. I also offer my expertise on our products to the relevant committees at national level.
Last but not least I represent BASF interests in numerous national and international associations such as PlasticsEurope, EUMEPS (European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene), and EXIBA (European Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Board Association)—to name just a few.
What challenges do you see for the future of insulation made of Neopor®?
The fire behaviour of polystyrene insulation materials is subject to criticism. However, the rigorous certification criteria for external thermal insulation composite systems and their components guarantee the safety of building insulation. Of course, it’s essential that the installation is carried out to a professional standard by trained specialists and that tried-and-tested systems are selected. The flame retardant incorporated in the insulation material, the plaster … all components together make the system—and therefore the façade —fire safe. Façade insulation with Neopor® is particularly safe as it provides very high insulation performance with even lower material usage. This is also advantageous from an ecological and economic perspective.
The Power of the Original Grey—tell us what this claim means to you.
Neopor® is not just a raw material but a complete package which is put together and delivered by us as a team, harnessing a wide range of skills. Acting responsibly is critically important and not just in terms of fire safety. Neopor® is constantly tested, monitored, and developed. We thereby maintain its reputation for consistently outstanding product properties and make every effort to ensure that BASF insulation materials can continue to be relied upon in future construction projects.
Fire behaviour of grey EPS
Insulation materials made of Neopor® contain the flame retardant Polymeric FR. This makes them safe building materials. The tests shown here illustrate how difficult it is to set the insulation material on fire. Click here for the video (only in German).