IFOAM has a wide array of potential applications. It forms the basis of several of the products listed on this website (i.e. IPOLE-WPK, IPLUG-RSK). From sealing ducts in manholes and risers to fixing structural damage in utility poles, IFOAM has become a valued commodity to a number of utility companies and their contractors. IFOAM is essentially a designer foam that can be engineered to suit the particular need. In the case of the utility poles with gaping holes left by woodpeckers and other wildlife, the IFOAM is engineered to totally restore the wood. Not only does it mimic the hardness and flex of the wood, but it penetrates through any decay and locks into the good wood fibers. It also sterilizes and therefore helps to prevent any future decay of the wood at that location. When we team IFOAM with the micro-encapsulated woodpecker deterrent as we have with the IPOLE-WPK product, the result is a total solution for utility pole repair and prevention.
More detailed information . . .
(Excerpts from a presentation given by Phil Landers, President ICORP-IFOAM Specialty Products Corporation at Global ESMO 2003 in Orlando, Florida. Read the full paper here.)
IFOAM is the only utility pole repair system on the market
that penetrates the decay and bonds to the surrounding solid wood. Using an expanding epoxy polymer
concrete, IFOAM, the molten epoxy is driven through the decay and into the solid wood, where it then
Bond through the decay and onto solid wood.
IFOAM is a catalyst cured, carbonated, expanding, epoxy
polymer concrete that is made up of a unique blend of epoxy resins, graded aggregate, and
3-dimensionally intertwined Fiberglass and carbon fibers.
Using its unique chemical composition, IFOAM incorporates three distinct physical mechanisms to
penetrate the decay:
- Low Viscosity. As the IFOAM cures, its exothermic heat of reaction rises to over 300°F. At
this temperature, IFOAM’s viscosity is reduced to less than that of water.
- Static Force. Confined, IFOAM expands with a pressure of approx. 2.5 psi.
- Dynamic Force. Dynamic pulsing forces are developed along the inside perimeter of the hole
by the continually developing-collapsing action of the CO2 bubbles at the IFOAM/wood
This unique combination of high temperature, low viscosity, and combined static and dynamic forces,
drives the molten liquid epoxy through the decay and into the solid wood where it cures and hardens.
In addition to its high penetration, the patented IFOAM process provides a high-strength fiber liner
around the interior walls of the cavity. This high-strength liner is formed by the filtering action of the
wood as the molten epoxy is driven through the decay. Filtered from the IFOAM matrix, the deposited
3-dimensionally intertwined fiberglass fibers form a high-strength, 2-dimensionally interlocked and
interwoven fiberglass liner on the inside walls of the cavity.
Stiffness of the repair material must match that of the wood.
Wood poles demonstrate a high degree of
flexibility under structural load. Thus, it is important that the stiffness of the repair be matched as
closely as possible to the stiffness of the wood pole. If the repair material stiffness is significantly
HIGHER than that of the wood, a high stress point can develop at the repair that can lead to premature
structural failure. Likewise, if the repair material stiffness is significantly LOWER that that of the
wood, structural stresses are not transferred through the repaired section, a situation that can again lead
Some commercially available woodpecker hole fillers are being marketed for the repair of both wood
and concrete poles. Because the stiffness’s of wood and reinforced concrete are so different, a repair
material whose stiffness is designed for concrete poles would not be appropriate for repair of a wood
pole, and visa versa.
Stiffness of an IFOAM (IPOLE-WPK) repaired woodpecker hole is designed to closely match the stiffness of the
in-service wood pole.
Woodpecker holes that breach the preservative treated shell of a wood pole are susceptible to DECAY.
Unless this decay is eradicated, deterioration of the wood surrounding the repaired section will
Conventional polymers (epoxies, polyurethanes, etc.) used as woodpecker hole fillers do nothing to
eradicate the decay. Use of toxic chemicals with these fillers can cause safety problems to installers as
well as restrict bond to the surrounding wood.
The IFOAM is designed to sterilize the wood surrounding the cavity as well as to provide
longer-term protection around the repair. Wood sterilization is accomplished by IFOAM’s high
exothermic heat of reaction that reaches temperatures in excess of 300°F. In addition, IFOAM contains
a high-penetration solvent that is released into the wood during expansion. Using available moisture to
migrate through the wood, the solvent reacts with and reactivates any preservative (i.e., creosote and
pentachlorophenol) that may be present. Longer term protection is accomplished by the addition of
micro-capsules of ICORP’s patented IPOLE-WPD Woodpecker Deterrent that are also incorporated into the IFOAM structural matrix.