Characterization, Development, and Life Cycle Analysis of EPS Geofoam for Use under Roadways Embankments

Research Project

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) or geofoam blocks have long been used as a lightweight, durable, geosynthetic alternative for soil backfills in several infrastructure facilities and geotechnical applications. Recently, EPS was utilized for roadway embankments after assuring safety against acting loads in addition to hydrostatic and buoyancy stability. While satisfying these considerations, the design must ensure serviceability, performance requirements, and economic and environmental impacts. The need for EPS in roadway embankments is mainly when the sub-soil is formed of weak or highly compressible soils such as peat, and medium or soft clays. In this research proposal, an innovative nano-coating material for EPS based on Egyptian sugar cane, banana waste, and coffee husk for the synthesis of high-performance adsorbent will be suggested. Such objective will be attained through the evaluation of microstructural, thermal performance, and durability. The cost and efficiency of the nano-coating production process will be addressed and linked with the manufacturing process.

The research shall include a full-scale laboratory characterization of the EPS material's static and dynamic properties and suggest simplified testing techniques that may be required for quality control purposes. A large-scale pilot prototype for roadway embankment is also intended to evaluate the performance of EPS under actual loading. The prototype shall be instrumented with pressure cells, strain gauges, and deformation gauges to accurately characterize behavior of the EPS-soil-roadway interaction in the short and long terms. The measurements acquired from the prototype will be inserted as inputs for a finite element (FE) model for replication and parametric analysis. Impact on the sustainability of material supply, lifecycle cost analysis, environmental impact, and economic viability of mass production will be assessed based on advanced decision analysis techniques.



The main objective of this research is to conduct full-scale experimental, numerical, and financial investigations on the use of EPS blocks for roadway embankments. This involves the development of an innovative coating material to appraise the effectiveness of using local EPS. The objective will also be expanded to evaluate the sustainability of the developed EPS using multi-criteria decision-analysis and life cycle assessment cost techniques.