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40 years of experience

with the use of EPS


Geofoam blocks in road
construction
Roald Aabe, Norwegian Public Road
Administration
Tor Erik Frydenlund, Geo Con (former
NPRA)

Soil mechanic section at NPRA

Norway - upside down

Key tasks for the NPRA Geotechnical


section:
Provide expert assistance and technical
support
3rd part control on complex geotechnical
projects
Development / implement standards and
guidelines.
Expertise in the NPRA's handling of serious
incidents.
National and international commitments.
Research and development
Establish and develop region offices.
Networks for geotechnics and avalanches.

R&D program evaluating the effect of


climate change on the road network
and remedial actions
2007- 2011, cca 2,75
Main objective: Improve planning, design,
construction and maintenance of the road network in
order to adapt to climate changes.

Landslides and avalanches

Vrdal landslide in 1893


55 mill. m of quick clay
debris.
112 persons were killed

..\EPS\EDO\J
ubileum
2006\Rissa.m
pg

Kattmarka
Quick clay slide 2009

Quick clay slides on norwegian roads

Ground impovements and stability


and settlements problems on
Norwegian roads?
Two main options for a road construction
1: Lime cement columns
2: EPS or other lightweight materials

Light weight materials

EPS - Major advantages


Low unit density
Easy handling on site
Easy shape adustment
Large freight volume
Availiability / production
capacity
Short construction time

EPS IN NORWAY
1972 - 2011

More than 500 road projects


500 000 1 000 000 m 3

Main test - completed projects


perform as expected

E18 and E6 main roads and


accesses in southern Norway/ Sweden
Oslo area

E18
Oslo sweden

150.000 m3 EPS
30 EPS constructions

50.000
m3 EPS
Oslo E -18 southern direction

200.000 m3 EPS

E6 Oslo - border

30 EPS constructions

100.000 m3 EPS
25 EPS constructions
Gothenborg norwegian border
400.000 m3 EPS

70 EPS constructions
Largest volum: 40000 m3

15 EPS
constru
ctions

EPS monitoring
Long term performance
Material behaviour
Compressive strength
Water absorption
Decay
Deformation
Deformation in EPS
Creep effects

Excavation of the first EPS


embankment at Flom bridge

EPS monitoring

Material data after 24 years:


Average density: 46,8 kg/m3
Average dry density: 22,1 kg/m3
Average compressive strength: 129 kN/m 2

Testing frequencies of EPS embankments


Test samples retrieved
Embankment location
National road 159 Flom
bridges

Construction
Year

No. of years after


construction

1972 /
73

12

24

National road 154


Solbotmoan

1975

21

36*

County road 91 Lenken

1978

County road 26 Langhus

1977

National road 610 Sande

1982

Lkkeberg bridge

1989

17

Loenga bridge

1984

21

34*

Compressive strength after 24 years

Compressive strength
kN/m2

Solbotmoan
Lenken
150

Langhus
Normal qual.

140
(9)

Loenga bridge
22 years

(24) (12)

130
(21)

120
110

Lkkeberg bridge
17 years

(7)

(7)

(0)

(6) (9) (4)

100
(0)

90

Design line

80
18

Vegdirektoratet
Vegteknisk avd.

Flom
Sande

20

22

24

Density dry kg/m3

26

( ) Year after
construction

WATER ABSORBTION EPS in a drained position

Water content(volum % )

Hardly any change


with time

1.00

2.00

3.00

4.00

0
Depth below top EPS (cm)

Water content
< 1.0 % by volume
after more than
20 years in the
ground

0.00
10
20
30

Solbotmoan
Langhus
Lenken

40
50
60
70
80
90
100

GW level

Standards and Guidelines

US National Deployment Goal


By October 2010, EPS geofoam will be a
routinely used lightweight fill alternative for
State DOTs on embankment projects where the
construction schedule is of concern.
By October 2011, all States will have evaluated
EPS geofoam as a lightweight fill alternative.

The EPS geofoam world of 2011

PhD and master degrees


First PhD
Milan Duskov

Material
properties
PhDs on the use of EPS and material
properties from

Australia, America, Europe, Africa, Asia


PhDs ~ 5 10
Master degrees ~ 10 - 100

International conferences on EPS

In addition there has


been arranged EPS
conferences in the
Netherlands, Malaysia,
Chile, France etc

Awards and EPS centers

EPS One out of 5 most


innovative solutions for road
construction
(TRB: Washington 2000)

www.internationalepsresearchers.
com
Who is able to come up with updated
webinformation on EPS in road
constructions (and other applications) ?
Is it neccesarry ?
Perhaps ..perhaps not
Do we need the 5th international conference
on EPS in 10 years time ?

Light weight materials (EUR/m3)


40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Foamglass

Design density: 3,5-4 kN/m3

LWA

5,5 kN /m3

EPS

0,5 kN/m3

Annual consumption (m3)


road construction
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5

000
000
000
000
000
000
000
000
000
000
0
Foamglass

EPS

LWA

Reuse and bridge foundation on EPS


Hjelmungen bridge
1996, 2006

Grimsyvegen
bridge 2006

Reuse at E 6- several spots - 2006

Lkkeberg bridge 1989

E 6 Lkkeberg bridge.
E 6 Lkkeberg bridge.
Abutments
for
temporary
bridge
Abutments
for temporary
bridge supported
on EPS fill
supported on EPS fill

Temporary flyover bridge


Full scale test
to improve traffic safety
(5 years in service)
A one lane ACROW steel
bridge
Soft clay deposits to 16 m
EPS necessary due to low
bearing capacity and subsoil settlements
Alternative to end bearing piles for the
abutment by placing the bridge directly on
an abutment on top the EPS embankment.

Construction of Lkkeberg
bridge 1989

28
30
32

Totalsetninger
(cm)

26

Settlements in
profile cm

The real life (behaviour) of an


EPS embankment

Lkkeberg bridge
foundations on EPS

36,8 m

Shotcrete

EPS

E6

5,5 m

Sand/gravel
Clay (Quick)

EPS

Lkkeberg bridge stress


distribution

Lkkeberg intersection
Settlements / deformation.

FULL SCALE MODELL TEST

A
A
Profile A-A

4m

10,5 t

2m

Earth pressure cells

Practical aspects of creep in EPS


(100 kPa) in constructions
No practical effects for stresses in the
range up to 30 kPa for an EPS
constructions
Small practical effects for stresses in the
range 30 50 kPa for a common EPS
constructions.
Could possibly have some effects with
extremely small deformation tolerances.
Utilization of EPS blocks where stresses
are in the range 50 kPa and up to plastic
deformations occurs (around 60 - 70 kPa ).

Excavating the Lkkeberg bridge


foundation

Widening Hjemungen bridge


with 2 more lanes

EPS -235

EPS -180
Vegdirektoratet
Vegteknisk avd.

EPS
EPS -100

Grimyvegen bridge

Deformations at Grimsyvegen bridge

Permanent multi-span bridges resting


on EPS geofoam blocks
Are we ready for permanent single or multi-span bridges
resting on EPS geofoam blocks?
We have one permanent multi-span bridge spanning 30 m
(Hjelmungen Bridge, Norway)
Experience from monitoring temporary solutions Lkkeberg Bridge (17 years)
Grimsyvegen Bridge (3 months)
Similar bridge projects in other countries?

Challenge for the international EPS experts !


Intercontinental EPS Research Group
Form an international group of experienced EPS
researchers together with bridge engineers. (Japan,
the Netherlands, USA and Norway).
Funding for an initial project (< 100000 $) on
technology exchange regarding Bridges founded on
EPS
NPRA may finance 25 % (suggestion)
Video and Skype-meetings and annual meetings
Master degrees - PHd
Main project - funding from
International research funds
Collaboration with other Public Road Agencies, contractors,
research institutes, producers of EPS

A New way to move forward with an international


expert group on a narrow theme with large
economic potentials?

Conclusion
From our experiences it may be fair to conclude that
no deficiency effects are to be expected from EPS
embankments placed in the ground for a normal life
cycle of 100 years.
This should hold true provided possible buoyancy
forces resulting from fluctuating water levels are
properly accounted for, the blocks are properly
protected from accidental spills of dissolving agents
and the applied stress level from dead loads is kept
below 30-50 % of the material strength.
The observed performance of the many projects
designed and constructed on these principles
around the world so far supports this conclusion.

Expected future development


(EPS conference Oslo,1985)

Thanks for Your attention !

Foundation on EPS much more than


a road construction ..

Flom bridge - Uplift due to flooding

Failures
Vegdirektoratet
Vegteknisk avd.

Flom bridge 1987


Flom bridge - Uplift due to flooding

Flood level
> 85 cm above
predicted flood
level at design
stage in 1972

Reuse of EPS blocks in connection


with embankment failure in
downtown Oslo

E 6 Vestby - Damage due to


fire

Flammable EPS quality

Small damages to abutment

Flame retardent EPS or not


2002 - Question raised in the Norwegian
parliament : Will NPRA stop the use of bromide
flame retardents (in EPS) ? The answer was
that we will phase out flame retardents
2004 New guidelines revision : No flame
retardents allowed
2006 Reuse of EPS blocks (with flame
retardents) or not.
Question in 2004: When will we have the next
EPS fire? Answer none so far

Glemte vi gamle Arkimedes NEI !

Flom bruer Verdens frste EPS konstruksjon


1972 Frste EPS konstruksjon i verden bygges i
Lrenskog av Statens Vegvesen
Geir Refsdal og Nils Rygg fra SVV med erfaring fra
isolerte veger er ideskapere til lsningen.
Egil Lundebrekkes minnepris til Geir: Refsdal har
gjort banebrytende arbeid innen utviklingen av
skumplast (EPS) i lette fyllinger p blt grunn. Han er
anerkjent som selve oppfinneren av denne metoden,
som i dag er i utbredt bruk for lse de vanskeligste
geotekniske problemer over hele verden
Patenter

2nd International Conference


Tokyo, Japan October 1996
300 participants from 15 countries
33 papers published and 23 papers
presented

Durability of EPS geofoam blocks

EPS is a stable compound chemically


Samples from existing fills show no signs of
decay or strength reduction.
Some chemicals will dissolve EPS with direct
contact
- Possible source: Overturned tanker with
petrol.
- Protection: Concrete slab or polyethylene
sheet
EPS can take an unlimited number of load
cycles as long as the repetitive loads are kept
below 80 % of the compressive strength at
5 % strain)

Biological deterioration

EPS is resistant to biological


destruction from bacteria or
enzymes.

EPS has no nutritional value for


animals

Smaller animals could make holes in


the blocks to satisfy their personal
housing needs.

Roots could grow into EPS

Nearly 40 years of experience with Expanded Polystyrene


(EPS) as a lightweight fill material in Norway has brought
about both a wider use on a global scale and the
introduction of a number of different design applications. In
addition to reduced vertical loads, advantages from using
EPS may also include reduced horizontal loads, simplified
designs, foundations placed directly on EPS blocks and
increased speed and ease of performing construction
activities. This document describes practical experiences in
Norway with long term performance and durability of EPS
as a fill material based on observations and recorded data
from monitoring programmes.