A Foam Cooler that Keep Stuff Cold For Days Rather Than Hours? That's LoBoy!
When it’s cold outside, we put on a few layers of clothing to keep us warm.
Every added layer of clothing traps warm air inside and reduces the amount of energy lost (heat). The more layers you wear (and the thicker they are), the better insulated you’ll be.
The same is true for a home, a car, and a hot thermos.
But, insulation can work just the same when you’re trying to keep something cool. It can trap cool temperatures inside when you take your thermos of cold water on a hike or bring a cooler full of food and drinks camping.
The question is, how are LoBoy Styrofoam Coolers able to keep things cold for so long? And what are they made of?
Keep reading to discover exactly how you can use styrofoam containers to keep items cool for hours (and even days).
The Basic Science Behind Heat
Before we get into how styrofoam is a great way to keep your food and other perishables cold, we need to first understand the science behind heat.
Zooming in on the atomic level, heat is simply the motion of molecules. The faster the molecules move, the hotter the object becomes (whether it’s a solid, liquid, or gas).
In a hot gas, like fire, this means molecules are bouncing off the walls, and buzzing around. In a hot solid, this means molecules are vibrating where they’re sitting, able to pass these vibrations along through molecular bonds to other molecules.
So what about the cold? Cold is simply the absence of heat (similar to how darkness is really just the absence of light). Knowing this helps to understand that the main goal of a cooler isn’t to necessarily keep the “cold” in, but to make sure the heat stays out.
How well a cooler can effectively keep the heat out depends on a few factors.
How Insulation Works
Heat flows through 3 different mechanisms:
Conduction is how heat moves through different materials. Convection is how heat circulates through various gases and liquids. Radiation is when heat moves in a straight line and heats any solids in its path that is able to absorb its energy.
So insulation’s main job is to slow down and stop these three ways heat is transferred.
What is Polystyrene or EPS?
Polystyrene is everywhere. From massive high-rise building insulation to your daily cup of coffee, polystyrene is used in many aspects of our daily lives. It’s one of the most commonly used insulations nowadays.
When polystyrene is used in insulation, it’s referred to as expanded polystyrene (or extruded polystyrene). Foamed polystyrene is also called EPS, or styrofoam.
Expanded polystyrene is the type of polystyrene that you’ll find when you open up your home delivery from an online store and have to rifle through packing peanuts. You’ll also see it when you order take-out food, and it can be used inside toys as well.
How EPS Styrofoam Coolers Insulate
Insulation works so well because of the air.
According to Science Direct, styrofoam is made up of over 98% air. This is intentional. Styrofoam is made up of millions of tiny air bubbles that are trapped inside the foam.
Remember, conduction works best by moving through solids. So by creating a material that has little to move through, it prevents heat from entering. Air is a poor conductor of heat which makes Styrofoam so good at preventing heat transfer.
Since air is also a mixture of gases, radiation heat also doesn’t affect it. Convection heat can still take place, but because there is little mass to circulate through it is minimal.
How EPS Foam Coolers Prevent Conduction
Warm molecules move much faster than cool molecules. When a warm molecule runs into a cold one, a portion of that motion is transferred which makes the cold one molecule move a bit faster (and become a bit warmer).
Because EPS styrofoam coolers have millions of little air bubbles, heat isn’t able to flow properly through the material. This means hot molecules are trying to get in, but it’s very difficult. The air bubbles slow down this transfer drastically.
How EPS Foam Coolers Prevent Convection
As soon as you open up a styrofoam cooler, convection starts to happen. Warm air rushes in and begins melting any ice packs inside, warming up the entire cooler.
By keeping styrofoam coolers closed and sealed, convection isn’t able to do much to warm the inside up. Air current may heat the outside surface of the cooler, but it takes a long time for this warmth to reach the inside because of how insulated the styrofoam is.
What Makes A Good EPS Styrofoam Cooler?
So what makes for a good EPS foam cooler? Is there any difference between the different types of styrofoam coolers, or are they basically all the same?
Maybe you’re wanting to pick up a styrofoam cooler for your next camping trip. Or perhaps you want to make sure you keep your fish fresh on the next fishing trip. Or maybe you just want to have a good lunch at the beach or park with your family, and need to keep your food and drinks cold.
When it comes to picking up a styrofoam cooler, there are a few things you’ll want to look out for.
You want to make sure the cooler isn’t too thin. If the walls of the cooler are too thin, it means there are less tiny air bubbles to slow down and trap the heat. This means your food, drinks, or fish won’t be able to stay cold for long.
Another thing to consider is the quality of the styrofoam. Some styrofoam is cheap, and will easily break, become brittle, or fall apart entirely. You need to make sure if you’re going to be lugging around a cooler full of food and drinks that you’re not going to have it fall apart on you.
If you’re wanting to pick up a high-quality EPS styrofoam cooler and aren’t sure where to look, check out our LoBoy Styrofoam Coolers.
We make premium styrofoam coolers that are thicker, which means your food stays cool longer. By ‘fully fusing’ our air beads, it provides maximum insulation in every one of our coolers which means your cooler can stay cool for days, not just hours.
You won’t have to worry about a warm, soggy mess when you pick up a LoBoy Cooler.
Want to know just how long LoBoy Coolers stay cool? Check out our independent Lab Test Results.