Instead of choosing costly surcharging and time-consuming remediation of soft soils, projects of all sizes can install EPS geofoam, which provides high load support while maintaining a low weight. EPS geofoam offers predictable engineered values, which simplifies design and construction. The material is commonly available with compressive resistance values ranging from to 2, pounds per square foot at 1 percent deformation the conservative elastic limit stress.
Because geofoam has a closed-cell structure, it does not readily absorb water, making it suitable for below-grade applications.
The material is inert and highly stable — it will not decompose or produce undesirable gases or leachates. It is not affected by freeze-thaw cycles, moisture, or road salts so it is suitable for use in demanding environmental conditions. EPS geofoam is recyclable, and project teams can order the material with recycled content. When a geofoam project has reached the project life span, the material can be reused in other projects, as is the case with reconstruction of Millennium Park in Chicago and Maggie Daley Park where approximately 1, cubic yards of geofoam will be reused.
Prescription Formula of Foamed Particles in Lightweight Soil
In areas of high seismicity, engineers are recognizing the advantages of using geofoam verses traditional fills. For example, studies from the University of Utah have shown that for buried utilities such as natural gas pipelines, geofoam can be a compressible, protective cover during seismic events. Similar results have been observed in Japan. One such project was the renovation of the city hall in Renton, Wash. New handicap ramps were required to meet building codes. The building is surrounded by extremely soft soils, so the ramps needed a very lightweight foundation to avoid post-construction settlement.
The Lightweight Treated Soil Method
After evaluating various traditional fills, the city chose EPS geofoam. The project site at the south end of Lake Michigan had soft glacial soils.
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The Federal Highway Administration FHWA recommended a net-zero load calculation of the roadbed to prevent post-construction settlement. To enable a shallow over-excavation of the high-organic-content soils, Walsh Construction used EPS geofoam blocks as fill. In addition to providing a solid foundation for the roadway, geofoam use reduced construction truck traffic on congested roads.
Transporting the geofoam required 32 flatbed truck loads, which was equivalent to more than dump truck loads of traditional earthen fill. A six-member crew working four- to five-hour days was able to install cubic yards of EPS geofoam in one week. We just unloaded the blocks and it installed fast. The first levee application in North America was done in Suisun, Calif. The project, owned by the California Department of Water Resources, had unacceptable settlements over the years resulting from the addition of traditional fill to restore the levee to its original grade.
The inclusion of geofoam in enabled the project team to bring the levee to its desired grade without adding weight, and to complete the project in four weeks.
Additionally, since slope stabilization generally happens on steep and uneven terrain, using EPS geofoam simplifies construction since crews can move and place it without heavy earthmoving and compaction equipment, greatly speeding up the construction schedule. Geofoam dates to the early s when scientists developed a way to commercially manufacture polystyrene. A German company called I.
Farben is often cited as the developer of polystyrene. The first documented geotechnical project in North America was the installation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, where geofoam was used for both utility protection and insulation. Golfers tee off on solid ground and take a boat out to putt on the floating green. In , the Federal Highway Administration designated geofoam as a priority, market-ready technology, with a deployment goal that the material will be a routinely used lightweight-fill alternative on projects where construction timelines are a concern.
The first geofoam slope stabilization project in North America was designed by Yeh and Associates and completed in , where a section of US near Durango, Colo. Approximately cubic yards of geofoam was used and installed in a short period of time, allowing the road to be reopened to traffic quickly.
The treated material is transported without any water dilution processes. This means the bulk increment of the dredging is constrained at minimum,making it easy to control disposal area. Provide treated material of high quality by mixing dredging with cement slurry by special mechanical apparatus. Earth pressure against port and harbour structures could be greatly reduced due to the lightweight and hardened properties of the material. Avoid water containments such as muddiness or PH increase when cast underwater,because the freshly treated material is sticky enough to resist dispersing.
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