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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 necessary with other materials. Geofoam resists moisture, decomposition and many adverse conditions for predictable stress-strain behavior over long service periods.

Void Fill for non-structural applications such as under landscaping can also be accomplished with Korolite® Types with higher recycled content instead of structural Geofoam.

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Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a closed cell, durable 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 EPS-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.

Functions & Applications

EPS foam has a number of remarkable properties such as a very low Poisson's ratio and no rupture point in compression. Small-strain functions of EPS Geofoam are the most commonly used and include:

  1. Lightweight Fill: reduce settlement and earth stresses under both gravity & seismic loading by a factor of up to 100
  2. Thermal Insulation: reduce heat flows
  3. Vibration & Noise Damping: reduce the magnitude of oscillations

EPS foam's cellular structure also permits using extraordinary strain ranges in excess of 10%. The primary large-strain function of EPS Geofoam is:

  1. Compressible Inclusion: reduce seismic loads on earth-retaining structures & utilities, and stresses on slabs/grade-beams/utilities from expansive soils

These functions can be employed in numerous Applications:

Under Highways, Roads over Poor Soils, Bridge Abutments, Bridge Underfill, Slope Stabilization, Culverts, Pipelines & Utility Protection, Rail Embankments, Foundation & Retaining Wall Backfill + Seismic Buffer, Fill for Landscaping & Green Roofs, Compensating Foundations, Frost-protected Shallow Foundations, Greenhouse/Cooler Foundations, Concrete Form Liners, Stadium Seating, Levees, Airport Taxiways & more

Geofoam Design Guide Multi-Function Overview Geofoam Durability
Stress-Strain Relationship of EPS up to 10% strain Stress-Strain Relationship of EPS - Full Range

Completed Infrastructure Projects

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

The standard EPS-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].

Property¹ Units
Airfoam Types
ASTM Std.
G12 G15 G19 G22 G24 G29 G39 G46
Third-Party Certified Type   EPS15 EPS19 EPS22   EPS29 EPS39 EPS46 D6817
Density
Minimum
kg/m3 11.2 14.4 18.4 21.6 24.0 28.8 38.4 45.7 D1622
lb/ft3 0.7 0.9 1.15 1.35 1.5 1.8 2.4 2.85
Compressive Resistance
@ 1% Strain

Minimum
kPa 15 25 40 50 58 75 103 128 D1621
Proc.A
psi 2.2 3.6 5.8 7.3 8.4 10.9 15 18.6
Elastic Modulus²
typical within elastic range
MPa 1.5 2.5 4.0 5.0 5.8 7.5 10.0 12.8 D1621
psi 220 360 580 730 840 1090 1500 1860
Flexural Strength
Minimum
kPa 69 172 207 240 276 345 414 517 C203
Proc.B
psi 10 25 30 35 40 50 60 75
Buoyancy Force³
Maximum, dry
kg/m3 988 985 981 978 976 971 961 954 D1622
lb/ft3 61.7 61.5 61.2 61.1 60.9 60.6 60.0 59.6
Additional Compressive Resistance Properties²
@ 5% Strain
Minimum
kPa 35 55 90 115 138 170 241 300 D1621
Proc.A
psi 5.1 8.0 13.1 16.7 20.0 24.7 35.0 43.5
@ 10% Strain
Minimum
kPa 40 70 110 135 157 200 276 345
psi 5.8 10.2 16 19.6 22.7 29 40 50

¹ 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.   ² 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.   ³ when EPS remains dry. Where needed protect against uplift/flotation.

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

Property*
Units
Types
ASTM Test
EPS12
EPS15
EPS19
EPS22
EPS29
EPS39
EPS46
Density
Minimum
kg/m3 11.2 14.4 18.4 21.6 28.8 38.4 45.7 D1622
lb/ft3 0.7 0.9 1.15 1.35 1.8 2.4 2.85
Compressive Resistance
@ 1% Deformation
Minimum
kPa 15 25 40 50 75 103 128 D1621
Proc.A
psi 2.2 3.6 5.8 7.3 10.9 15 18.6
Flexural Strength
Minimum
kPa 69 172 207240 345 414 517 C203
Proc.B
psi 10 25 3035 50 60 75
Limiting Oxygen Index
Minimum
% 24 24 2424 24 24 24 D2863
Additional Compressive Resistance Properties**
Compressive Resistance
@ 5% Deformation
Minimum
kPa 35 55 90 115 170 241 300 D1621
Proc.A
psi 5.1 8.0 13.1 16.7 24.7 35.0 43.5
Compressive Resistance
@ 10% Deformation
Minimum
kPa 40 70 110 135 200 276 345 D1621
Proc.A
psi 5.8 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
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.
Surface Burning Characteristics Canada CAN/ULC-S102.2: Flame-Spread Rating ≤290, Smoke Developed Classification over 500.   USA ASTM E84 (UL 723): Flame Spread Index ≤25, Smoke-Developed Index ≤450 up to 6" thick
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 Curves of EPS Geofoam Types
Property Units Korolite® Types Test Std.
100R 130R 160R
Third-Party Certified Type Canada 1 1+ 2 CAN/ULC-S701
USA I VIII 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 0.66 0.70
Flexural Strength¹
Minimum
psi 25 30 35 ASTM C203
Proc.B
kPa 172 208 240
Water Vapor Permeance1,2
Max. @ 1" [25.4mm] thick
perm 5.0 3.5 3.5 ASTM E96 desiccant
ng/(Pa•s•m²) 287 201 201
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: Flame Spread Index ≤25, Smoke-Developed Index ≤450 up to 6" 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.

Specify


Geofoam Design Guide Multi-Function Overview Geofoam Durability

Code Evaluation Report Intertek Listed & Inspected

National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP):
Geofoam Applications in Highway Embankments
Geofoam Applications in Slope Stability Projects
ASTM D7180 "Standard Guide for Use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam in Geotechnical Projects"
Lateral Pressure Reduction on Earth-Retaining Structures Using Geofoam, Dr. John S. Horvath P.E. March 2018