Why do I need this product?

Using Atlas Elevation EPS allows building over unstable areas that might otherwise sink from the weight of the construction materials or traffic. It can reduce the lateral stress of embankments on bridges or buildings, allowing the engineer to reduce concrete, rebar, struts, etc originally designed to hold back that soil weight. The product can replace a portion of the concrete in applications like stadium tiered seating or steps. Rather than stabilizing soil through exchange (time delays) or compaction (money), the site can begin construction immediately. Pipes or culverts under roadways can be constructed with less concern for crushing, as shaped Atlas Elevation Geofoam can be customized to fit around the pipe just like shaped EPS is used as packaging.

How does it work?

Elevation Geofoam has impressive compressive resistance while contributing little weight of its own. The product can be supplied in various sizes and shapes, but is typically a large block (32″x48″x96″). Blocks are layered in the cavity or alongside a bridge, sometimes held together with construction fasteners, sometimes covered by a geomembrane. Once covered with soil, gravel, and/or concrete, the foam spreads the pressure from above over a wide area while exerting little lateral force on nearby structures. This is how it stabilizes soils that would otherwise sink, and protects structures from being pushed by embankments.

Is it safe?

Elevation Geofoam is an inert plastic, comprised of polystyrene (think coffee cups), air, and a small amount (less than 1%) of flame retardant. A typical block weighs less than 200 pounds, is easily maneuvered into place, and has no sharp edges (it is foam!). Blocks should be battened down while waiting for use, since strong winds can actually pick them up.

Is the performance warranted?

Elevation Geofoam provides a 20 year warranty on compressive resistance of the material. We encourage clients to implement a sampling and testing program for large projects, to verify that the product meets specification from start to finish. However, the performance of the PROJECT is not warranted, that is up to the client engineer to select the appropriate product grade for the forces that will be encountered in use.

How has it been tested?

Elevation Geofoam is tested for compressive resistance on an ongoing basis, using 2″x2″x2″ cubes per ASTM D6817. Unlike a piece of commodity expanded polystyrene that might be used to insulate a basement wall, Atlas EPS must meet strict performance requirements at the lowest level of compressive resistance, 1% deformation. Almost any EPS product will perform the same at 10% deformation on a density comparison basis for compressive resistance. But minor defects in the EPS show up in the 1-2% deformation range that can result in failure. This difference is very important! It is in this deformation range that the foam will “bounce back” from the load exerted on it. Many EPS molders test at 10% deformation; these results mean nothing in a geofoam application!

Is it code approved?

The Federal Highway Administration and AASHTO have adopted geofoam as an approved construction product and technique to reduce costs and decrease project time. Several prominent uses of the product include protecting the car tunnel under the river in Boston’s “Big Dig” project, stabilizing soil under a highway for the Utah winter Olympics some years ago, and stabilizing a landfill so that an entire mall could be constructed in Detroit. All of these projects used hundreds of truckloads of geofoam each.

Is it 3rd party certified?

Elevation Geofoam is 3rd party listed with Underwriters Laboratories for physical properties per ASTM D6817. This means that on a continual basis, their auditors visit our plants to confirm we meet performance requirements specific to geofoam applications. UL and other 3rd party agencies have long audited EPS suppliers for burning (E84) and gross physical properties (C578) – BEING CERTIFIED AGAINST THESE STANDARDS MEANS NOTHING FOR GEOFOAM APPLICATIONS. Before considering a supplier, check that they are 3rd party certified against ASTM D6817, “Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Geofoam”.

What are typical applications?

Bridge abutments and underfill, slope stabilization, levees, dams, berms, roadway stabilization, railway stabilization, culverts, landscaping, noise reduction walls, road widening, retaining walls, ultra lightweight fill, stadium and theater seating, airports, marine structures, seismic stabilization, pipeline protection, fluid transmission and draining, vibration dampening, compressive inclusion, land reclamation, plaza decks. Anywhere that allot of weight needs to be spread out or reduced below grade, or it is cost effective to fill a void with an alternate weight bearing product.

What are the recommended installation guidelines?

Our Engineering Department can help with efficient layouts to maximize use of the product strength while minimizing costs. Designing a fill solution without considering the material efficiency and freight maximization is very costly. Often we have adjusted the size of the product for the client so that the lowest cost is maintained. Helpful handling and installation golden rules can be found in ASTM D7180, “Standard Guide for Use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam in Geotechnical Projects”. The buoyancy of EPS is about 60 pounds per cubic foot, so it is critical that sufficient ballast weight be applied to offset water table issues where present.

What precautions should be exercised when using Atlas EPS?

Avoid contact with solvents as some solvents may dissolve the product. Protect from solvents using a geomembrane. The product contains a flame retardant, but is combustible, so don’t smoke around it or expose it to flames, sparks, or other ignition sources. Blocks of geofoam are light enough to be blown by wind or to float in high water. This can potentially create hazards to personnel and equipment. Care should be taken to ensure the material is properly secured for the conditions at the job site.

What are other benefits of Atlas EPS and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) in general?

What are the benefits of Atlas EPS Elevation Geofoam? “Elevation Geofoam provides the Geoblock System. A true system backed by engineered material with consistent physical properties and solid certification from U/L including compressive resistance, thermal value and flammability. A system which includes geofoam specialists to ensure specs are verified before the blocks are made and blocks are tested after production using sophisticated testing equipment. The Geoblock System provides a manufacturer with 35 years EPS experience, 14 specific to geofoam, and allows us to offer our 20 year compressive resistance warranty, the best in the business. It includes product deliveries by our fleet to ensure on time deliveries and minimize double-handling or pre-staging blocks. Think beyond the block and build with Atlas Elevation Geofoam.

What are the benefits of using EPS ( Expanded Polystyrene ) geofoam over other types?

EPS geofoam is 100 times lighter than soil yet has compressive strengths up to 60 psi. EPS can be provided in block form rather than sheets decreasing installation time. EPS is an inert non biodegradeable material which uses air as it’s blowing agent rather than chemicals such as formaldehyde, CFC, HCFC, which can decrease the material performance over time.