3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks

Structural foam blocks are engineered lightweight fill designed to deliver the highest level of stability for transportation, commercial construction and landscaping applications.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam is 1% the weight of soil and comes in easy-to-handle blocks that can be stacked and customized to a variety of project needs. It lowers the cost of construction by reducing the amount of labor needed, cutting the cost of specialty and heavy moving equipment, and by its ability to be installed in inclement weather.

Geofoam can also be cut to fill any space and work around preexisting equipment like pipes, cables or machinery.

Let’s look at three types of projects that benefit from using structural foam blocks.

Parking Structures

UDOT Brigham City Bridge

Geofoam significantly reduces the dead load on underground structures such as parking structures. In many situations, the soil that would surround a buried structure would place too much stress on it leading to deformities and even structural failure.

But the lightweight foam blocks reduce that stress and ensure the structural integrity of underground buildings and parking structures. Geofoam blocks also reduce the dead loads placed on a structure when used as a soil replacement and can be used to transform the rooftops of parking garages into parks and community centers or field fabricated to mimic the surrounding landscape.

The structural foam blocks help absorb the impact of gravity, earthquakes and other natural forces as well, so the structure remains stable and durable.

Highways and Roads

3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks 2

The demand for new highways and roads is always increasing, but soft soil often plagues projects and slows the expansion process down. However, structural foam blocks are the perfect fill solution to reduce stress on weak soil and limit compression rates.

Structural foam fill also provides protection from harsh climates. It absorbs very little water and will not expand when it rains.

It also solves the problem of highway frost heave damage. By placing polystyrene below the roadway, frost is unable to penetrate and freeze the subgrade, and the foam blocks stay locked in place. The road remains flat and undamaged with even heat flow.

Structural foam blocks are perfect for road widening and reconstruction projects. It eliminates the need for compaction and fill testing, and it works even if the soil itself is not adequate enough to support the additional traffic loads. Any preexisting gas lines, water mains and communication cables can remain in place and in service during and after construction since the foam can be cut to allocate for them.

Stadium Risers

3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks 3

Geofoam blocks are easily customizable to fit the needs of any space. Each block can be precut or cut on-site to the exact measurements needed. Then, it can be conveniently carried to its final position. Geofoam blocks significantly cut down the time and labor needed to build stadium risers.

The expanded polystyrene also has noise dampening characteristics that improve the sound quality of a traditionally large and echo-filled space.

See It In Action: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit

Atlas Geofoam Lightweight Fill was an integral component in the success of Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena. They offered a flexible, adaptive and lightweight solution when traditional fill was not a viable option.

A significant amount of Geofoam blocks were used in the foundation to reduce lateral loading on the foundation walls and in the plaza to reduce loading on the below-grade ice rink. Pedestrian areas, planters and the outdoor bar area also all utilized Geofoam as a lightweight and cost-effective solution to raise the elevation where other fill alternatives would have been less efficient or too heavy.

Atlas Geofoam Lightweight Fill

Geofoam from Atlas has several unique benefits that make it the perfect structural block fill for your next project.

Predictable Engineering Quality

3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks 4

Thanks to its dimensionally stable properties, Atlas Geofoam is engineered to perform consistently in every situation.

There is a predictable compressive resistance at just 1% deformation, meaning you can anticipate exactly how much Geofoam you will need based on compressive strength.


3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks 5

Geofoam comes in standard block sizes of 32”, 36” or 40” x 48”x 96”, but Atlas also offers custom block sizes up to 50” x 72” x 288”.

Geofoam blocks can easily be cut on-site as well. So, whether you need the block to custom fit a space, cut allowances for preexisting features like pipes or cabling, or create a unique design, Atlas Geofoam is a completely customizable solution.


3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks 6

Not only is Geofoam engineered to the highest quality and customizable for your project’s unique needs, but the blocks are also one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market.

The blocks are lightweight, weighing 1/100th the weight of soil. They are easy to move around and only a small crew is needed to install them, saving your project from extensive labor costs.

They also can be installed in any climate conditions, even rain. So, there’s no need to halt construction every time there is the threat of inclement weather, keeping your project on schedule and on budget.

Environmentally Friendly

3 Projects Ideal for the Use of Structural Foam Blocks 7

Sustainability efforts have become an increasing necessity in the construction industry. We at Atlas are proud to say that our Geofoam products are one of the most environmentally friendly fill options available.

Geofoam blocks are free of any hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and they are 100% recyclable at the end of their life. The expanded polystyrene is 98% air, providing an environmentally friendly solution with a low global warming potential (GWP) and zero ozone depletion potential (ODP).

Choose Atlas for Your Next Project

Atlas Geofoam is the perfect choice for all your structural fill project needs. It will keep your project on schedule, on budget and running smoothly.

Learn more about Atlas Geofoam Lightweight Fill, or click here to talk to an expert about how it can help your next project.