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Geofoam & Void Fill Solutions

Geofoam is a geotechnical fill material used as an alternative to soil or other fill materials, for soil stabilization, and in many other engineered applications. Extremely lightweight Geofoam is cost effective & fast, usually eliminating pilings, surcharging, preloading, and staging that's often necessary with other materials. Geofoam resists moisture, decomposition and many adverse conditions for predictable compressive strengths over long service periods.

Void Fill for landscaping and similar applications, where compressive strength at 1% strain isn't as important, can often be accomplished with Korolite® Types with higher recycled content instead of engineered Geofoam.

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Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a closed cell, resilient foam that's been successfully used as geosynthetic material & below grade insulation for many decades. EPS Geofoam is about 100 times lighter than soils and reacts to applied loads very differently, greatly reducing gravity loads and lateral loads on retaining walls. Fast to install even in the rain, Geofoam blocks arrive at the jobsite ready to place, cut to size per approved drawings. If additional fitting at the site is required, it's easy with portable hot wire cutters. See ASTM D7180 "Standard Guide for Use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam in Geotechnical Projects".

Applications

EPS Geofoam can serve multiple functions:

  1. Lightweight Fill: reduce settlement and earth stresses under both gravity and seismic loading by a factor of upto 100
  2. Thermal Insulation: reduce heat flows
  3. Compressible Inclusion: reduce seismic loads on earth-retaining structures and utilities, and stresses on slabs/grade-beams from expansive soils

One or more of these functions can be employed in various applications:

Under Highways, Roads over Poor Soils, Bridge Abutments, Bridge Underfill, Foundation & Retaining Wall Backfill + Seismic Buffer, Fill for Landscaping & Green Roofs, Slope Stabilization, Culverts, Pipelines & Utility Protection, Rail Embankments, Compensating Foundations, Frost-protected Shallow Foundations, Greenhouse/Cooler Foundations, Stadium Seating, Levees, Airport Taxiways & more in CSI/CSC section 31 23 23 EARTHWORK Fill (31 2323.43 Geofoam)

Completed Infrastructure Projects

  • Kelowna Bridge, Kelowna BC 2007
  • Golden Ears Bridge, Maple Ridge/Langley BC 2008
  • Pitt River Bridge, Port Coquitlam/Pitt Meadows BC 2009
  • Roberts Bank Rail Corridor, Langley/Surrey BC 2013
  • South Fraser Perimeter Road, Surrey/Delta BC 2013
  • 152nd Street Overpass, Surrey BC 2013
  • Mufford / 64th Overpass, Surrey/Langley BC 2014
  • Deltaport Terminal, Delta/Tsawassen BC 2014
  • 72nd Avenue Overpass, Surrey BC 2018
  • 80th Avenue Extension, Langley BC 2018
Material properties of Airfoam's various Types for Engineered Applications

The standard blocks are 48" x 48" x 96" [1.22m x 1.22m x 2.44m], full-size maxima are 48½" x 48½" x 194" [1.23m x 1.23m x 4.92m].

Property*
Units
Airfoam Types
ASTM Test
G15
G19
G22
G24
G29
G39
G46
Density
Minimum
kg/m3 14.4 18.4 21.6 24.0 28.8 38.4 45.7 D1622
lb/ft3 0.9 1.15 1.35 1.5 1.8 2.4 2.85
Compressive Strength
@ 1% Strain
Minimum
kPa 25 40 50 58 75 103 128 D1621
Proc.A
psi 3.6 5.8 7.3 8.4 10.9 15 18.6
Elastic Modulus**
typical within elastic range
MPa 2.5 4.0 5.0 5.8 7.5 10.0 12.8 D1621
psi 360 580 730 840 1090 1500 1860
Flexural Strength
Minimum
kPa 172 207240 276 345 414 517 C203
Proc.B
psi 25 3035 40 50 60 75
Third-Party Certified Type EPS15 EPS19    EPS29     D6817
Additional Compressive Resistance Properties**
@ 5% Strain
Minimum
kPa 55 90 115 138 170 241 300 D1621
Proc.A
psi 8.0 13.1 16.7 20.0 24.7 35.0 43.5
@ 10% Strain
Minimum
kPa 70 110 135 157 200 276 345
psi 10.2 16 19.6 22.7 29 40 50

* The test methods used to determine the above material properties provide a means of comparing different rigid, cellular polystyrene geofoam products. They are intended for use in specifications, product evaluations and quality control, but they are not intended to predict end-use product performance.   ** The elastic limit/yield point is between 1% and 2% strain. Compressive resistances at 5% and 10% strain are provided for applications where the intended end-use includes plastic (permanent) deformation under load; to limit it along with creep, use the 1% strain values for design.

The ASTM Standard D6817 "Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam" provides material properties of various EPS Types:

Property*
Units
Types
ASTM Test
EPS15
EPS19
EPS22
EPS29
EPS39
EPS46
Density
Minimum
kg/m3 14.4 18.4 21.6 28.8 38.4 45.7 D1622
lb/ft3 0.9 1.15 1.35 1.8 2.4 2.85
Compressive Resistance
@ 1% Deformation
Minimum
kPa 25 40 50 75 103 128 D1621
Proc.A
psi 3.6 5.8 7.3 10.9 15 18.6
Flexural Strength
Minimum
kPa 172 207240 345 414 517 C203
Proc.B
psi 25 3035 50 60 75
Limiting Oxygen Index
Minimum
% 24 2424 24 24 24 D2863
Additional Compressive Resistance Properties**
Compressive Resistance
@ 5% Deformation
Minimum
kPa 55 90 115 170 241 300 D1621
Proc.A
psi 8.0 13.1 16.7 24.7 35.0 43.5
Compressive Resistance
@ 10% Deformation
Minimum
kPa 70 110 135 200 276 345 D1621
Proc.A
psi 10.2 16.0 19.6 29.0 40.0 50

* The test methods used to determine the above material properties provide a means of comparing different rigid, cellular polystyrene geofoam products. They are intended for use in specifications, product evaluations and quality control, but they are not intended to predict end-use product performance.   ** Compressive resistance at 5% and 10% deformation are provided for applications where the intended end-use includes plastic (permanent) deformation under load.

Additional Properties for all Types

Load Distribution: Poisson's ratio ≈0.12 within the elastic range; Coefficient of Friction μ: 0.5-0.7 along clean faces
Buoyancy-Force: up to 985 kg/m³ [62 lbs/ft³]
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) resists mold & fungi growth per ASTM C1338 and has no nutritional value for insects. To protect against insects/termites and water-vapor place adequate physical barriers such as membranes around below-grade EPS. Where needed, use adequate drainage to limit water absorption; Capillarity: None
Max. Service Temperature: Long-Term Exposure 75°C [167°F], Intermittent Exposure 80°C [176°F]; Thermal expansion coefficient: 5-7 • 10-5/°K
Solubility: Insoluble in water and in general chemically inert. EPS dissolves in hydrocarbons (e.g. fuels, oils, tar), organic solvents (e.g. acetone/ketones, benzene, paint thinner), ethers, esters, aldehydes and amines. UV-light surface degradation: white EPS can be exposed to direct sunlight for a few weeks. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light creates a yellow dust on the surface of EPS which has negligible impact on the products' properties but may require removal before adhering other materials such as coatings or self-adhesive membranes.
Limiting Oxygen Index: min. 24% per ASTM D2863. Airfoam's EPS for construction use contains a polymeric (non-HBCD) fire retardant modifier.
CAUTION: EPS products are combustible and must not be exposed to excessive heat, sparks, open flames, or any other sources of ignition. If stored/used in closed containers, confined, or low-lying areas, ensure adequate ventilation to prevent accumulation of flammable pentane vapours. Prevent inhalation of smoke, fumes or dust from burning or fabrication activities. GHS Classification: Non-Hazardous, see SDS

Stress-Strain Relationship of EPS
Property Units Korolite® Types Test Std.
100R 130R 160R
Third-Party Certified Type Canada 1   2 CAN/ULC-S701
USA I   II ASTM C578
Compressive Resistance1,4 Minimum ASTM D1621
@ 10% Deformation psi 10 13 16
kPa 70 90 110
Thermal Resistance1,2,3 Minimum @ 24°C [75°F] ASTM C518
R-Value/inch thickness
ft²•hr•°F/ (BTU•in) 3.75 3.8 4.04
RSI / 25mm thickness
m²•°C/ (W•25mm) 0.65 0.67 0.70
Flexural Strength¹
Minimum
psi 25 30 35 ASTM C203
Proc.B
kPa 172 208 240
Water Vapor Permeance1,2
Maximum at 1 inch thickness
perm 5.0 3.5 3.5 ASTM E96 desiccant
ng/(Pa•s•m²) 287 201 200
Water Absorption1,5
Maximum
% by
volume
USA 4 3 3 ASTM C272, 1 day
Canada 6 6 4 ASTM D2842, 4 days
Dimensional Stability¹ % linear
change max.
1.5 ASTM D2126
7 Days @ 70±2°C
Additional Thermal Resistance Info1,2,3,b ASTM C518
or C177
R-Value/inch thickness ft²•hr•°F/ (BTU•in) @25°F 4.2 4.4 4.6
@40°F 4.0 4.2 4.4

¹ The test methods used to determine the material properties provide a means of comparing different cellular plastic thermal insulations. They are intended for use in specifications, product evaluations and quality control, but they are not intended to predict end-use product performance.  ² Values are for 1 inch or 25mm thick samples with natural skins intact. Better values will result for thicker materials.  ³ R means resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.  4 The elastic limit is between 1% and 2% strain. Compressive resistances at 10% strain are provided for applications where the intended end-use can tolerate plastic (permanent) deformation under load5 The lab-test methods for water absorption use complete submersion under a head of water for 24 or 96 hours, so the values are applicable to specific design requirements only when the end-use conditions are similar to test method requirements.  b not part of all the industry consensus standards (ASTM C578, CAN/ULC-S701) and provided AS-IS solely for informational purposes

Additional Properties of EPS

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) resists mold & fungi growth per ASTM C1338 and has no nutritional value for insects. To protect against termites place adequate physical barriers such as membranes around below-grade EPS.
Max. Service Temperature: Long-Term Exposure 75°C [167°F], Intermittent Exposure 80°C [176°F]; Thermal Expansion coefficient: 5-7 • 10-5/°K
Solubility: Insoluble in water and in general chemically inert. EPS dissolves in hydrocarbons (e.g. fuels, oils, tar), organic solvents (e.g. acetone/ketones, benzene, paint thinner), ethers, esters, aldehydes and amines. Capillarity: None
UV-light surface degradation: white EPS can be exposed to direct sunlight for a few weeks. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light creates a yellow dust on the surface of EPS products which has negligible impact on the products' properties but may require removal before adhering other materials such as stucco or self-adhesive membranes.
Surface Burning Characteristics Canada CAN/ULC-S102.2: Flame-Spread Rating ≤290, Smoke Developed Classification over 500.   USA ASTM E84 (UL 723)ª: FSI ≤25, SDI ≤450 up to 5" thick
Limiting Oxygen Index: min. 24% per ASTM D2863. Airfoam's EPS for construction applications contains a polymeric (non-HBCD) fire retardant modifier.
CAUTION: EPS products are combustible and must not be exposed to excessive heat, sparks, open flames, or any other sources of ignition. A protective barrier or thermal barrier is required as specified in the appropriate building code. If stored/used in closed containers, confined, or low-lying areas, ensure adequate ventilation to prevent accumulation of flammable pentane vapours. Prevent inhalation of smoke, fumes or dust from burning or fabrication activities. GHS Classification: Non-Hazardous, see SDS

ª Ceiling measurement only, conducted through determination of flame spread index and smoke-developed index with the removal of any contribution of molten materials ignited on the floor of the Steiner tunnel.

Multi-Function Overview Geofoam Design Guide Geofoam Durability
Lateral Pressure Reduction on Earth-Retaining Structures Using Geofoam, Dr. John S. Horvath P.E. March 2018