How to Use EPS Geofoam to Protect Buried Pipelines and Utilities

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam is an ultra-lightweight yet rigid engineered material with high compressive strengths and predictable yield characteristics. It considerably reduces vertical and horizontal loading when used around utilities or buried pipework. It particularly provides pipeline security in seismic zones and can avoid costly relocation or upgrading of existing utilities.

How does EPS geofoam offer load reduction and seismic protection?

EPS is 100 times lighter than soil with well-defined compressibility characteristics. When placed above a culvert, pipeline or utility supply it can provide a ‘compressive soft zone’. This creates a positive ‘arching’ effect which significantly reduces the vertical loading of the surrounding earth.

When used under concrete structures, it can also absorb upward strain from the expansive forces of a clay-based soil or freezing conditions. Easy to shape around networks of existing pipelines, it reduces both horizontal and vertical loading of the new construction.

What are the applications for using EPS Geofoam to protect pipelines and utilities?

  • Protection of buried pipelines – in one major research study EPS was shown to protect a high-strength steel gas transmission pipeline

  • Dead load reduction on buried utilities

  • Protection of pipes and culverts – often as part of embankment construction

  • Protecting pipework in areas at risk of permanent ground deformation e.g. Land sliding, Areas of high to moderate seismicity & Liquefaction

  • Sites requiring both vertical and horizontal load reduction

  • As a fill material for slot-trench cover systems

  • As a lightweight trench backfill material with low density

  • Areas requiring additional thermal protection

  • Protection for existing internal pipework when floors are being raised or altered

Advantages of using EPS Geofoam in a project that involves buried pipework

  • Can allow existing utilities to stay in place – saving significant time and money.

  • Can eliminate the need to replace existing utilities as long as vertical loading is reduced.

  • Can create any shape required – pre-cut before site delivery with additional onsite changes done with minimal equipment.

  • Lightweight EPS blocks are easy to move and store around site; minimal disturbance in sensitive or restricted locations.

  • Improves seismic resiliency of the pipeline or utility

  • Provides high thermal insulation

  • Provides vibration damping properties

  • Used as pipe protection for both internal and external construction.

  • Used globally for many years with proven success

Talk to the experts on load reduction and pipework protection

Our experts offer advice on specifying Geofoam in all areas of protection for utilities and buried pipework. Our design team assists at all stages of the project from specification and design to delivery and project conclusion. Call Universal Foam Products at 410-498-0000. Shipping from over 100 locations we are local to almost everywhere.

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