Applications of Expanded Polystyrene in the Construction Industry

Applications of EPS

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a capable material that can aesthetically and structurally enhance a building. It has been in use as an insulation material since the 1950s. It has come into use in other aspects of construction as well. Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at how EPS is used in construction. 

Applications of EPS

Insulation structures

EPS is well-established in the construction industry as an insulation material. It has good thermal insulation capacity as well as high impact resistance. EPS is a cellular plastic containing small spherical particles of mostly air. The material’s closed-cell construction gives it an excellent insulating character. 

Exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS) are synthetic wall cladding that helps you reduce energy expenses by providing excellent thermal protection. EPS boards are used as a core material in EIFS. 

As an aggregate in concrete 

EPS is used as an aggregate to produce lightweight concrete (LWC) that is stronger and lighter than traditional vermiculite LWC. Other materials, including waste, like paper sludge ash can be added as aggregate along with EPS to produce sustainable lightweight mortar. Using pumice and EPS as aggregates, you can create a concrete mix that has a low density as well as low thermal conductivity. 

The use of LWC reduces the structural dead load of a building. And it reduces the cross-section of columns, beams, plates and braces. Moreover, LWC lessens the impact of earthquakes on a structure.

EPS concrete can be used to make structural elements like cladding panels, load-bearing concrete blocks and composite flooring systems. 

In home décor

EPS is a better material for creating decorative moulding when compared to stones. EPS has already replaced stone as the most preferred material for decorative moulding in North America. It is easy to shape and can improve the aesthetics of a building by concealing gaps and surface transitions easily. 

EPS can also serve as a material to make parapet moulds. Wooden parapet moulds are a thing of the past. EPS is cost-effective, provides excellent design flexibility and allows faster production compared to wood. The moulds are also lighter, recyclable, HCFC/CFC-free and environmentally friendly. 

In structural insulated panels

Structural insulated panels (SIP) are a 75-year-old tech. SIPs are sandwiched panels used as a structural element in concrete buildings. It is a high-performance 3-layer panel used on floors, roofs and walls for residential and small commercial buildings. 

The three layers of an SIP include two thin-facing layers and one layer of thick core. The facing layers are usually oriented strand boards and EPS is utilized as a core material. The core stabilises the face sheets allowing the SIP to support bending stress. SIP has a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than both its constituents. In addition, the thermal conductivity of the EPS core reduces with increasing density. 

In flooring

EPS foam can be incorporated into concrete floors to reduce noise and preserve heat. It leads to increased energy conservation. The thermal insulation increases when graphite is added to the polystyrene matrix. The graphite also increases the foam’s stiffness and restricts its expansion. All these aspects increase the foam

In backfilling

Heavy filling materials used in the construction of embankments can lead to numerous problems. EPS geofoam in the construction of embankment as a backfilling to reduce overall weight, especially on top of soft soil. It can also be used as a backfilling material for road widening and bridge abutment. 

EPS is easy to apply, waterproof, lightweight and has a good cushioning ability. 

EPS has numerous beneficial properties that make it an excellent construction material. It is a great thermal and sound insulator, it has impact resistance, light load-bearing capacity, long life, low maintenance and is chemically inert. 

Explore our wide variety of EPS products to choose from. We customize the products to match your requirements in form, size and shape. Contact us to learn more.

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