create a comprehensive design

guideline and a material and construction standard for geofoam used as lightweight fill in roadway embankments, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), funded National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 24-11 titled “Guidelines for Geofoam Applications in Embankment Projects.” The NCHRP research was conducted from July 6, 1999 to August 31, 2002.

The results of this NCHRP project are presented in two reports. One report includes only the design guideline and the material and construction standard for use of geofoam in stand-alone roadway embankments: The second report includes the background and analyses used to develop the design guideline and material and construction standard as well as a summary of the engineering properties of EPS-block geofoam and an economic analysis of geofoam versus other lightweight fill materials.


Geofoam Specification for Non-Transportation Applications

PART 1   General

  1. This specification covers the types, physical properties and dimensions of expanded polystyrene (EPS) intended for use as Geofoam.
  2. This specification does not cover the layout, placement and workmanship for proper installation and performance of Geofoam.
  3. Geofoam shall be protected from certain chemicals, fire sources, extended exposure to sunlight, and concentrated loads. Specific design considerations with Geofoam may include strength, deformation, thermal conductivity and buoyancy.
  4. This specification does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user to establish appropriate safety and health practices and to determine the applicability of specific regulatory limitations prior to use.

PART 2   Referenced ASTM Standards

2.1 ASTM D 6817-07 Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam

2.2 ASTM C-578-08b Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Insulation

2.3 ASTM D-1621 Test Method for Compressive Properties of Rigid Cellular Plastics

2.4 ASTM D-1622 Test Method for Apparent Density of Rigid Cellular Plastics

PART 3   Terminology

3.1 Definitions:

3.2 Terms used in this specification are defined in Terminology D 4439.

Geofoam—block or planar rigid cellular foam polymeric material used in geotechnical engineering applications.

3.3 Definitions of Terms Specific to This Standard:

3.4 EPS, XX—number designation for expanded polystyrene Geofoam Type(s) having a minimum density of XX

3.5 RCPS—letter designation for EPS and XPS rigid cellular polystyrene geofoam covered by this specification.

PART 4   Submittals

4.1 General: Submit listed submittals in accordance with Conditions of the Contract and Division 1 Submittal Procedures Section.

4.2 Product Data: Submit product data, including manufacturer´s DATA SHEET, for specified products.

4.3 Shop Drawings: Submit shop drawings showing layout, profiles and product components.

4.4 Quality Assurance Submittals: Submit the following:

4.4.1 Test Compliance: Summary of test compliance with specified performance characteristics and physical properties.

4.4.2 Certificates: Product certificates signed by manufacturer certifying materials comply with specified performance characteristics and criteria, and physical requirements. Manufacturer shall supply a hard copy product certificate showing Third Party Quality Control.

PART 5   Quality Assurance

5.1 Installer Qualifications: Installer experienced in performing work of this section who has specialized in installation of work similar to that required for this project.

5.2 Regulatory Requirements:[ Specify applicable requirements of regulatory agencies. ]

Specifier Note: (1) Installation must comply with the requirements of all applicable local, state and national jurisdictions. (2) Approvals: EPS (Geofoam) is made to exacting standards monitored by Underwriters Laboratories. Contact Atlas EPS for applicable compliance information.

5.3 Pre-installation Meetings: Conduct pre-installation meeting to verify project requirements, substrate conditions, installation instructions, and manufacturer´s warranty requirements. Comply with Division 1 Project Management and Coordination (Project Meetings) Section.

PART 6   Delivery, Storage & Handling

6.1 General: Comply with Division 1 Product Requirements Sections.

6.2 Ordering: Comply with manufacturer´s ordering instructions and lead-time requirements to avoid construction delays.

6.3 Delivery: Deliver materials in manufacturer´s original packaging with identification marks intact.

Storage and Protection: Store materials protected from damage.

PART 7   Warranty

7.1 Project Warranty: Refer to Conditions of the Contract for project warranty provisions.

  1. Manufacturer´s Warranty: Submit, for Owner´s acceptance, manufacturer´s standard warranty document executed by authorized company official. Manufacturer´s warranty is in addition to, and not a limitation of, other rights Owner may have under Contract Documents.

Specifier Note: Coordinate paragraph below with manufacturer´s warranty requirements. Atlas EPS provides a warranty covering compliance to ASTM D 6817-07 for its EPS Geofoam. Contact the manufacturer for details regarding the warranty program.

Warranty Period: [ Specify term. ] years commencing on Date of Substantial Completion.

PART 8   Products

Specifier Note: Retain article below for proprietary method specification. Add product attributes, performance characteristics, material standards, and descriptions as applicable. Use of such phrases as “or equal” or “or approved equal,” or similar phrases may cause ambiguity in specifications. Such phrases require verification (procedural, legal and regulatory) and assignment of responsibility for determining “or equal” products.

8.1 Manufacturer: Atlas EPS, A Division of Atlas Roofing Corporation

Specifier Note: (1) Please refer to Atlas EPS DATA SHEET for performance properties.

  1. Limitations: EPS contains a flame retardant additive; however, it should be considered combustible. It should not be stored near open flames or any source of ignition.

Expanded Polystyrene Block:  Expanded polystyrene block shall be “Atlas EPS Geofoam” as manufactured by Atlas EPS, a Division of Atlas Roofing Corporation.  The EPS Block shall conform to ASTM D6817-07 and shall be Type [ Specify. ]  with a density of [ Specify. ]  lbs. Per cubic foot and a minimum compressive stress of [ Specify. ]  at 1% deformation.  The other properties shall be as follows:

Thermal Resistance (1.0 in. thickness), min.
    @ 40F [ Specify. ]  F ft2 h/BTU
    @ 75F [ Specify. ]  F ft2 h/BTU
Compressive Strength (at 10% deformation), min.  [ Specify. ]  psi
Flexural Strength, min. [ Specify. ]  psi
Modulus of Elasticity, min. [ Specify. ]  psi
Dimensional Stability, max. [ Specify. ]  %

8.2 Atlas EPS Connector Plates:  The Geofoam Connector Plate shall be used to restrain Geofoam from moving laterally in layer over layer applications. The Geofoam Connector Plate shall be supplied by Atlas EPS.  The plate shall be made of galvanized steel with two-sided multi-barbed design capable of piercing geofoam.  Each plate shall be capable of a lateral holding strength of 60 lbs.  It is the responsibility of the designer/applicator to determine the load requirement of the project for determining the number of Geofoam Connector Plates needed.  However, two plates for each 4’ x 8’ section of EPS block is a minimum recommendation.

Specifier Note: Edit article below to suit project requirements. If substitutions are permitted, edit text below. Add text to refer to Division Project Requirements (Product Substitutions Procedures) Section.


Substitutions: No substitutions permitted.


Related Materials: Refer to other sections for related materials as follows:


Source Quality Assurance: Each system component required shall be supplied by manufacturer and shall be obtained from selected manufacturer or its approved supplier.

Source Quality: Obtain lightweight EPS Geofoam from a single manufacturer.

PART 9   Execution

Specifier Note: Revise article below to suit project requirements and specifier´s practice.

  1. Manufacturers instructions:  Comply with manufacturer´s product data, including product technical bulletins, and product catalog.

PART 10   Examination

  1. Site Verification of Conditions:
  2. Verify substrate conditions, which have been previously installed under other sections, are acceptable for product installation in accordance with manufacturer´s instructions.

10.3 Verify conditions of substrate, grade and other conditions which affect installation of geofoam. Any adverse conditions shall be reported in writing. Do not proceed with installation until adverse conditions are corrected.

10.4 Verify details prior to starting Geofoam installation.

  1. Verify base preparation to support the Geofoam.

PART 11   Preparation

11.1 Surface Preparation: [ Specify applicable product preparation requirements. ]

Specifier Note: Coordinate article below with recommended installation details and requirements.

PART 12   Installation

Specifier Note: Atlas EPS recommends installation shall be in accordance with published instructions, details and the drawings that are part of the contract documents for project. Conflicts between these documents shall be resolved in writing.

12.1 Installation:[ Specify instructions to suit project requirements. ]

12.2 Site Tolerances:[ Specify applicable site tolerances for specified product(s) installation. ]

12.3 Related Products Installation: Refer to other sections listed in Related Sections paragraph herein for related products installation.

PART 13   Field Quality Requirements

Specifier Note: Edit paragraph below. Establish number and duration of periodic site visits with Owner and manufacturer, and specify below. Consult with manufacturer for services required. Coordinate paragraph below with Division 1 Quality Assurance Section and Part 1 Quality Assurance Submittals herein. Delete if manufacturer´s field service not required.

13.1 Manufacturer´s Field Services: Upon Owner´s request, provide manufacturer´s field service consisting of periodic site visit for inspection of product.

Site Visits: [ Specify number and duration of periodic site visits. ]

PART 14   Cleaning

14.1 Remove temporary coverings and protection of adjacent work areas. Repair or replace damaged installed products. Remove construction debris from project site and legally dispose of debris.

PART 15   Protection

  1. Protect installed product and finish surfaces from damage during construction.
  2. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to discoloration and dusting due to ultraviolet (UV) degradation.  Property changes related to UV degradation are superficial in nature. Once installed and properly covered UV degradation will not be an important concern for belowground geofoam applications. Discoloration and dusting due to prolonged sunlight exposure can be minimized by covering the geofoam stockpile with opaque sheeting during extended periods of open-air storage.

Geofoam is combustible and protecting against fire hazard is important.  Smoking and the use of open flames, such as welding, near Geofoam should be strictly prohibited.