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Ferrocement Educational Forum  |  Ferrocement Discussions  |  General Discussion  |  Topic: Ground EPS In Concrete « previous next »
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pewellman
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« on: September 26, 2010, 01:55:32 PM »

I posted here about pouring lightweight concrete between LFC layers as exterior walls back in May. At the time I was thinking about using foamed concrete for the lightweight concrete layer.
I was recently contacted by Enstyro http://www.enstyro.com about being listed on my website.
I am now thinking recycled EPS might be a great substitute for the foam.
I have built using both CEMPO and RASTRA and can't say enough good things about these products.
Thastyron is a great concept. Making my own, using Enstyro technology, is making my head spin.
It seems like you would have a product that would not be as fragile as the foamed concrete and be really green. Might even be something that you could develop a trowel friendly mixture with?
Using recycled EPS is what originally sold me on RASTRA and CEMPO. To do this using locally produced recycled materials makes all kinds of sense. Transportation ain't going to get cheaper.
Does anyone have any experience with using ground up EPS in concrete?
Thanks for any input.
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upston
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2010, 07:15:22 PM »

Hi Paul.

I have been making EPS concrete for a few months now. the only trick is getting the pellets the right size. I have had great success with just portland and pellets.

I made some perlite crete as well but the EPS is better if you can get it. I have mixes from 30 lbs per cu ft to almost full weight and all would be very usable in the appropriate application.

If you have any leads on getting some pellets please advise.

brad
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Ringo
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2010, 01:40:28 PM »

I have been making eps cement for a few years.
Virgin beads work nice as you get a nice homogeneous mixture which means lightweight AND strength.
Making my own eps grind took some time to figure out.
It was either too big or too small.
I made a machine that grinds the used styrofoam back into beads almost like the virgin beads.
It is about 100 carbide saw blades stacked together that turn by electric motor quite slowly.
I drop the scrap foam down a chute and give it a little push with a plunger and out comes lots of beads.
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philb
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 07:42:12 AM »

I found this styrofoam shredder. http://themannook.info/styroshredder/styroshredder.htm
It looks like it could be adjusted for different diameters of finished product.
What size pellets are working best?
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upston
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 01:52:28 PM »

Hi Ringo,

Thanks for the tip on grinding, any chance you can send a picture of the device. The low speed is a good idea to cut down on the mess, good thinking.

Like you I have used several size grinds and as you say the smaller size makes the best product so far. Do you just use portland and EPS or do you add some other stuff?

What density are you coming up with and how are you using the material?

Thanks Brad
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pewellman
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 10:33:18 AM »

Thanks for all of the response.
It is exciting to see that there has been so much experience with such a thing.
I am really interested in Brad and Ringo's experiences with their mixes and applications.
I am told by another fellow that when he tried about a 75% EPS mix that it took forever for the mix to dry. I am very curious as to whether walls poured using a EPS / concrete mix would take a long time to dry? What has been your experience? He also has not come up with a good way to shred the EPS. I will pass on Philb's link for the shredder.
Has anyone tried to put this on something using a trowel? How about using a spray rig?
It would be very interesting to come up with something that you could hand apply that would have good insulative qualities.
I spent about six weeks in Pahrump, Nevada with Steve Saum (owner of CEMPO) learning how to use his products but I was never allowed to see inside the plant where CEMPO forms were made. “Big secrets inside” I was told. I am assuming that being very near death valley meant they were using mother natures oven to bake the forms. I would have loved to see how they shredded the mountain of scrap foam they had.

FYI - Also noted while working with Steve Saum was the fact that he bought polyurethane resin in fifty five gallon barrels. He put poly in everything he did. From stucco to floor and counter top mixes. I am sure there is a healthy dose of poly in the secret sauce used to make CEMPO. Has anyone tried poly in their mix?

Very fascinating stuff. Ilove the idea of turning something that would usually go to the dump in something so potentially useful. It would be great to buy a setup from Enstyro Inc. and start a business that used diverted waste into very economical housing.

Thanks to you guys again!
Paul
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upston
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 10:27:45 AM »

Hi Paul,

As far as the set time on EPS crete I found in the floating densities  ie less than 50 lbs per cu ft did take a little longer to firm up but at 7 days things catch up and forms could be stripped at that time.

I can be troweled to a point, it's a little sticky for a nice smooth finish but it's very easy to sand the high spots.before the final LFC coat.

The chopper on the link you mentioned runs $7k and while that's cheap enough if your starting a business if I spend that kind of cash it better do 85 mph not grind foam.

Ringo 's multi saw blade slow speed chopper seems very doable for the hobbyist with a shop vac and a dream, I'm saving blades.

Brad
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philb
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2010, 09:20:38 AM »

Hi Paul,
You mentioned a spray rig. I wonder if an unmodified ceiling texture sprayer might work?
Also, if you know of a source for buying used Styrofoam, please let me know.
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Colin King
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2010, 01:45:04 PM »

Hi Phil,  Our local recycling collection place (First Alternative Coop, Corvallis OR.) collects EPS packaging material to keep it out of the waste stream that is headed for the local landfill.  They have to charge a fee to accept the waste in order to defray the cost of trucking the EPS to Portland.  They will gladly furnish me with high-density foam scrap at no cost just to cut down on the trucking.  If there isn't a place like the Coop's recycling center near you check out the local furniture stores and offer to help them out.  They have similar problems.  Nearly everything that gets shipped in a container gets packed in high density foam then boxed in cardboard for shipping. At present the supply side is not the problem.  The reconversion to a lightweight aggregate that is readily available is the sticking point at the moment.  Ringo seems to have that bit in hand.  Now, if saw-resharpening places have old blades.........

Colin
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philb
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2010, 01:14:04 PM »

Thanks for the tip Colin.
I think Ringo's rig will work well.  I don't think I have ever thrown an old saw blade away. It's good quality metal for making knives to who knows what else. Now here's one more use. Coupled with a shop vac, and vortex, it should make short work of it. Another tool... Grin
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pewellman
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2010, 06:49:31 PM »

Thanks to all for the interesting info.
I am wondering what you guys are doing with the EPS Crete when you make it???
What kinds of things have you tried with it?Huh
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Ringo
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2010, 11:16:47 AM »

Sorry for the late reply.

My best mixes are 3 sand to 1 Portland and different percentage of EPS.
I have a nice mix that is 50% EPS, so that is just 4 EPS to 3 sand to 1 Portland.
It turns out quite strong and we even did a 6x6 beam test and it broke at 800 lbs.
Since this is 50% EPS it weighs about half of what regular concrete weighs. 120lbs/2 =60lbs per cubic foot.
I make another mix that weighs about 25lbs per cubic foot and floats!!

Mix the sand and Portland first, then add foam.
I soak the foam in a bucket of water mixed with Dawn detergent and then take out using a strainer basket.
The wet soapy beads increase the slump significantly so mix the portland and sand as dry as possible.

If the mix is too wet it will never solidify and will crumble like old cookies when dry.

I used Silica sand #20 grit for best results but also cheaper plaster sand works if you sift the larger grains out.

The most dry mixes need to hydrated to cure, cover with wet towels or submerge in water as soon as they get stiff enough.
I can speed up the process with accelerators.

I have many different mixes and it all depends what I intend to use it for.
To pour into a cavity you need about a 5" slump minimum.
Increase the slump and decrease the strength.

I'll try and post some photos when the sun comes out.
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Ringo
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 11:41:22 AM »

Okay I have some photos.
Send me your email address and I will send them:

brentjb at verizon.net
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philb
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2010, 12:20:37 PM »

Hi Ringo,
What mixes would you advise for insulating hot water pipe buried about 2 feet in the ground?
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Ringo
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2010, 02:31:02 PM »

Last year we built a swimming pool and heated jacuzzi.
The heater was about 200 feet away from the jacuzzi and we were concerned that the water would loose a lot of heat on the way.
Not so says our pool plumbing expert. Hot water moving through a pipe loses very little heat.
He said some studies have been made on that and he wasn't making it up.
Insulating the pipe would be a waste of money he said.

Similar situation with air conditioning ducts on a flat roof with no insulation.
You would think that is insane but apparently cold or hot air moving through a pipe is not much affected.
I work in Palm Springs often, very hot, and I see these non-insulated ducts all over town, even new construction.
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