You may have heard the term “geofoam” and thought to yourself, “Okay, so I replace my dirt with foam and move on…” But in reality, it is far more versatile than one would initially think. Generically speaking, geofoam is an engineered product that stabilizes roads, embankments, buildings, and nearly everything that would sit on regular soil fill material and require a lot of compacting and dirt. The strength and compressive resistance of geofoam is what makes it the star of today’s feature.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam has been used as a geotechnical material since the 1960s. EPS geofoam is approximately 1% the weight of soil and less than 10% the weight of other lightweight fill alternatives. As a lightweight fill, EPS geofoam reduces the loads imposed on adjacent and underlying soils and structures. EPS geofoam is not a general soil fill replacement material but is intended to solve engineering challenges. The use of EPS typically translates into benefits to construction schedules and lowers the overall cost of construction because it is easy to handle during construction, often without the need for special equipment, and is unaffected by occurring weather conditions.
Applications using geofoam
EPS geofoam is inherently multi-functional, which makes it effective to use in a wide variety of applications. It offers special advantages for construction on soft ground, slope stabilization and retaining walls. EPS geofoam has been used in road and airfield pavements and railway track
systems, beneath refrigerated storage buildings, sports arenas and storage tanks to prevent ground freezing and heaving and in below-ground building segments to reduce seasonal heating and cooling requirements.
With unprecedented strength and flexibility, EPS geofoam also offers innovative solutions to a range of problems, including protection from earthquake shock and noise and vibration dampening.
You can learn more about geofoam applications on our Geofoam Solutions tab on PlastiFab.com
The list of applications that benefit from geofoam solutions is lengthy, and may surprise you that it is not JUST a below grade solution. Applications include:
Plasti-Fab has been manufacturing geofoam for over 50 years. Here are just a few projects that benefited from using geofoam as their solution.