Types of Lightweight Fill

Lightweight Fill Products

There are a few different types of lightweight fill:  Cellular (foamed) concrete, geotechnical polyurethanes, expanded lightweight aggregate concrete, foamed glass, and expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Cellular Concrete

Cellular concrete, is made of cement, water & preformed foam.  The foaming agent effectively acts as a very high air entraining admixture.  Typical cellular concrete mixes for lightweight fill applications are greater than 60% air content.  Cellular concrete can be either pervious or impervious.  Pervious cellular concrete is excellent for lightweight fill applications where buoyancy is a concern.  

CJGeo installs cellular concrete for lightweight fill applications.  We have the capacity to produce both pervious and impervious mixes.  Our equipment allows for truck-batched production or steady-stream production on job sites.  

Because cellular concrete is a neat mix of Portland cement and water, there are no components that will degrade with time, so cellular concrete is very dimensionally stable for long periods of time.  Cellular concrete is not susceptible to solvent attack.

Cellular concrete is nearly self-leveling, and is self-consolidating.

We install cellular concrete.

Tampa Silos

Geotechnical Polyurethanes

Geotechnical polyurethane is a very versatile lightweight fill material.  In addition to their very light weights–2 pounds per cubic foot is easily achieved, and yields bearing capacities of approximately 5,000PSF–geotechnical polyurethanes react and cure within a few seconds to minutes.  This allows for easy placement and shaping of embankments and even sprayed vertical applications.

Unlike cellular concrete, geotechnical polyurethane lightweight fills can’t be made permeable.  Polyurethane lightweight fills are rigid cellular plastics, so they are susceptible to some solvent attacks.  However, when protected from UV light, geotechnical high density polyurethanes have exceptional life expectancies, and incredible bearing capacity to weight ratios.

We install CJGrout Geotechnical Polyurethanes for lightweight fill.

Expanded Lightweight Aggregate Concrete

Expanded lightweight aggregate concrete is very similar to regular concrete. However, by using lightweight aggregate, the unit weights are around 110lb/cuft.  While significantly lighter than traditional structural concrete, lightweight concrete tends to be heavier than traditional fill materials.

Foamed Glass

Burning glass powder mixed with a foaming agent creates foamed glass. Foamed glass looks like cellular concrete broken into gravel. The in-place density of foamed glass is approximately 25lb/cuft. Because of compaction loss, it takes about 1.25 cubic yards of hauling for each cubic yard of in place material.

Expanded Polystyrene

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) weights as little as 1.5lbs/cuft. It’s essentially large chunks of styrofoam stacked onsite to build lightweight fills. It takes a cubic yard of hauling for each cubic yard of in place material.  Therefore, there are relatively high transportation costs of EPS.  However, it’s extremely lightweight.  Unlike cellular concrete, EPS does not require forms to install above grade.  However, a primary weakness of EPS is its susceptibility to solvent attack. We do not install EPS lightweight fill.

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