Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam has a long history of use in the building and construction industry. Going back as far as the 1960s, EPS Geofoam has been used as a geotechnical material that has aided in roadway, bridge, airport runway, and stadium seating building jobs - just to name a few.
EPS Geofoam is ideal for these types of projects, as it is highly versatile, durable, and lightweight. It is approximately 1% the weight of soil and less than 10% the weight of other lightweight fill alternatives, meaning it reduces loads imposed on adjacent and underlying soils and structures, and costs less to ship and handle. It is the perfect tool to help solve engineering challenges, speed up construction schedules, and lower overall cost of construction.
EPS Geofoam offers the following benefits:
EPS Geofoam Applications
You can learn more about EPS Geofoam's applications and use in construction by clicking one of the links below:
Airport Runway and Taxiway Construction
Bridge Abutment projects
Landscaping and Green Vegetative Roofs
Levee Construction and Support
Lightweight Structure Foundation Construction
Rail Embankment Projects
Retained and Buried Walls
Stadium and Theater Seating
Road Construction Over Poor Soils
Culverts, Pipelines, and Buried Utilities
EPS Geofoam Special Applications
Or contact one of our EPS product specialists today!
EPS Block Geofoam - Meeting Project Specifications
Foam density is a key consideration when bidding on a geofoam project. Achieving the minimum density in a geofoam specification is not a guarantee that other physical property requirements will be met, particularly the compressive resistance at 1% strain.
The American Standards and Testing Materials (ASTM) has two standards pertaining to EPS geofoam. ASTM D6817-06a Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam provides information on the physical properties and dimensions of expanded polystyrene intended for use as geofoam. ASTM D7180-05 Standard Guide for Use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam in Geotechnical Projects covers design considerations for the use of EPS in geotechnical applications.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has identified EPS geofoam as a market ready technology and innovation that warrants special attention. For more information on FHWA’s initiatives for geofoam, go to http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/crt/lifecycle/geofoam.cfm. Other specifications may exist and the above referenced documents may change over time.
Specifications & Density
Thorough knowledge and understanding of the specification being used on a geofoam project is essential. Of critical importance is the relationship between foam density and compressive resistance at 1% strain. In lay person’s terms, this is related to the amount of load needed to compress (or strain) the foam thickness by 1%.
In general, performance requirements in thermal insulation standards such as ASTM C-578, Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation and CAN/ULC-S701, Standard for Thermal Insulation, Polystyrene, Boards and Pipe Covering should not be considered an indication that the product will meet the requirements established in a geofoam specification. Specifically, the compressive resistance requirements in ASTM C-578 and CAN/ULC-S701 measured at 10% strain significantly differ from the compressive resistance typically included in a geofoam specification at 1% strain.
It is essential to determine the relationship between the specific molding equipment being used, the achieved product density and its compressive resistance at 1% strain. In most geofoam specifications, the compressive resistance at 1% strain will be the overriding consideration. Depending on the equipment used and other manufacturing variables, a block density higher than the specified minimum density may be required. Therefore, performance requirements for geofoam applications must be evaluated individually as they relate to each project specification.
EPS Geofoam Applications
EPS geofoam can be used to create topography without adding significant load to underlying structures and services. Some examples of this application include creating roof gardens for urban buildings.
Vegetative roofs provide many benefits to a building, especially in urban areas. They reduce runoff by managing rainwater, improve air quality and reduce air temperatures. EPS geofoam is ideal for this application because it can be cut or trimmed to fit odd geometries, can be installed on the roof without special equipment and does not add any appreciable load to the roof structure.
EPS geofoam can be cut and shaped on site to create interesting architectural and landscape profiles. An added benefit of using EPS geofoam for a vegetative roof is the additional insulation value it provides. EPS geofoam was used to shape vegetative roof installations at the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh, Scotland and the conference center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. A series of interesting geometric shapes was created with little additional load added to the underlying structures.
EPS geofoam was used on an underground parking garage as part of the renovation of the Calgary Court of Queens Bench building. The load induced on the underground parking structure due to surface landscaping needed be reduced. A portion of the fill material above the garage was replaced with EPS geofoam lightweight fill material and the landscaping was completed.