Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam blocks are normally used with soil in the applications of slope utilization, lateral load reduction in retaining structures, and buried utility protection etc. In buildings, the blocks can be used in stairs, and in the seating arrangement of classrooms, lecture halls, auditoriums and stadiums. The blocks reduce dead load and are easy to handle and install. Another advantage is that casting takes less time, repair is easy compared to cement concrete steps, and the final finish can be chosen as per the architectural requirement.
Dr. K M Soni, Retd. ADG, CPWD, New Delhi
Physical Properties of EPS Geofoam Blocks
Figure 1: Light weight EPS Geofoam blocks
EPS Geofoam blocks are available in various sizes, generally 1.2mx1.2m and 1.2mx2.4m, but they can be manufactured even in large sizes. The thickness of the blocks can be manufactured up to 36 inches. Standard blocks come as rectangles but can be custom cut in the factory to meet various job requirements, including sloped or curved pieces. Additionally, EPS Geofoam blocks are easy to cut in the field, using saws or a hot wire cutting tool during installation, or as per the requirement.
As per ASTM D6817, foam control is prescribed as EPS12, EPS15, EPS19, EPS22, EPS29, EPS39 and EPS46 for Geofoam blocks. Typical density of EPS geofoam may vary minimum from 11 to 46 kg per cum as per ASTM C303 for different types of foams, hence, the blocks are very light and therefore suitable for areas where weight reduction is required. Due to the light weight (Fig. 1), their handling and placing is easy, making them useful for steps on slabs.
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