Synthetic Lightweight Additives Advance Concrete

Synthetic Lightweight Additives Advance Concrete

Originally published online at Concrete Producer

Concrete technology:  Advances in lightweight synthetic aggregate substitutes.

Polystyrene-based lightweight additives reduce the weight of concrete, while conferring beneficial mechanical properties.

Polystyrene-based lightweight additives reduce the weight of concrete, while conferring beneficial mechanical properties.

From its high compressive strength to its ability to be formed into countless shapes, concrete is one of humankind’ most useful construction products… but the material’s GREAT WEIGHT creates a host of challenges, such as high transport and installation costs, and worker fatigue.

To overcome these and other issues, people thoughout history have sought to reduce concrete’s weight without negatively affecting its performance.  An early example is the Ancient Romans’ addition of pumice and air-filled clay pots to the Pantheon’s domed concrete roof.  In recent years, additives have become much more sophisticated, notably with the introduction of ultra-lightweight synthetic aggregates.

Among these are lightweight polystyrene and expanded polystyrene (EPS) beads.  These small foam beads sometimes are mistakenly referred to as “Styrofoam”, but are a different material

Read more about this new concrete technology where Polystyrene-based lightweight additives reduce the weight of concrete, while conferring beneficial mechanical properties.