Edge protection is an important element during the construction of new roofs, helping to make sure those working on the structure are not placed at unnecessary risk, particularly if the roof surface itself is incomplete.
But it could also play a part in the use of a space-age sounding material that is actually almost as old as the oceans themselves: Neptune balls.
This cosmological term is the name given to the tiny balls of seaweed deposited on Mediterranean beaches each spring by the Posidonia plant, a type of seaweed.
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT have now developed a way of turning these balls into insulation.
Notably, the raw material is renewable and currently sent to landfill, the salt content of between 0.5 and 2% means the insulation will not rot, and no harsh chemicals are needed in order for it to work.
It can be used as cavity wall insulation, in buildings’ exterior envelopes, and importantly on roofs – where much rising heat is usually lost to the outside air.
For construction companies installing this, or any other kind of insulation, edge protection gives a degree of confidence that workers will not be able to fall, even if the roof consists of little more than an exposed insulation layer while the work is carried out.