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Project Type
Faculty-Initiated Research
Project Dates
09/01/2016 - 12/31/2017
Principal Investigators
Project Status

EPS geofoam blocks have been used as light weight material in a variety of geotechnical applications in the US and around the world for over 30 years. The large number of successful applications of geofoam and few notable failures were mainly designed by rule of thumb and shared experiences. Sensing of interface contact pressures and internal stresses in geofoam block installations in the field and in large size laboratory samples and models would be valuable for calibrating computer models and to improve design practice. Needs for load distribution slabs or requirements for adequate fill over geofoam to reduce stress increments can be assessed more reliably. Compaction induced contact pressures and internal stresses below loaded areas within geofoam blocks have yet to be observed. Specifications usually call for protecting geofoam surfaces from exposure to heavy construction traffic, but associated stress levels are not known. There are now more compatible and reliable methods for sensing boundary pressures and internal stresses within geofoam blocks. To guide future improvements in design and rapid construction with geofoam, use of new sensor systems in both lab tests and field observations are essential. Tactile pressure sensors are promising innovations that can be useful for more detailed investigation of geofoam behavior and performance.