Session C4
Paper #6114
Disclaimer — This paper partially fulfills a writing requirement for first year (freshman) engineering students at the
University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. This paper is a student, not a professional, paper. This
paper is based on publicly available information and may not be provide complete analyses of all relevant data. If this
paper is used for any purpose other than these authors’ partial fulfillment of a writing requirement for first year
(freshman) engineering students at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, the user does so at
his or her own risk.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE IN LONG SPAN
STRUCTURES
Craig Fischer, [email protected], Vidic 2:00, Ricky Taylor, [email protected], Sanchez 10:00
REVISED PROPOSAL- Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS),
commonly known as Styrofoam, is a thermoplastic, closed
cell, light-weight, rigid plastic that is proven to be versatile.
In addition, EPS is a strong thermal insulator, excellent shock
absorber, and a high strength to weight ratio [1]. As of now,
its use in construction is mostly limited to insulation or
landfills. Typically for long-span architecture the materials
used are steel and concrete. However, scientists and engineers
are developing methods to use EPS in construction an
alternative. EPS is extremely lightweight (composed of over
90% air) [2], meaning it is easily transported to a construction
site. Further, its portability allows crews to assemble
structures more quickly and easily than they can with steel or
concrete. The ease of transportation and quick assembly times
cuts down on the overall construction costs. Moreover, EPS
has a compression strength per weight ratio close to that of
concrete, thus, it can withstand nearly the same amount of
force as concrete at a cheaper price. Therefore, expanded
polystyrene is a material that should be used in constructing
long span structures because it is inexpensive, lightweight,
and sturdy.
A research team from the National University of Singapore
has developed Cloud Arch, an ultra-light architecture that
uses EPS to create long span structures. These Cloud Arches
are used to create roofs for structures such as pavilions,
stadiums, and factories. Assistant professor and architect
Shinya Okuda, who led the project, said, “With Cloud Arch,
we hope to reduce the construction cost by one-third and
construction time by half, compared to conventional
construction materials such as concrete” [3]. If using EPS in
place of concrete can reduce costs and construction time like
Okuda says, then it is an innovation to research further and a
material that will be vital in civil engineering. In addition to
its impact in the field of civil engineering, using EPS can also
help architecture firms because of its ability to cut down
construction time, allowing the company to move on to
another job quickly.
One ethical issue that expanded polystyrene has is its
negative environmental impact. A report done by Harvard
University ranks polystyrene production second worst of total
environmental effects behind aluminum [4]. This is a problem
that must be dealt with because of the strict environmental
standards structures must have. We will further examine the
environmental impacts of EPS and potential was to reduce
environmental damage. For example, a report by the Sony
Corporation Research Center that shows that using an
alternative recycling form in the deconstruction process
reduces the environmental impacts nearly in half during
recycling [6].
To research further into the effects using EPS can have in
civil engineering, we plan to find data that demonstrates the
flexibility and strength that it possesses. For example,
professional articles, such as one by IOPScience which states
that using EPS in a house creates an energy efficient house
with an energy index within 50-60 kWh/ (m2year) which is
much better than traditional methods that exceeds 100-120
kWh/ (m2year)[5], demonstrates the positive effects of EPS
in construction. Finally, we will look further into the Cloud
Arch project and use that as a way to illustrate EPS’s
capabilities through reports put out by the research team
behind the project. Altogether our paper will demonstrate the
effects using EPS can have through data and through its
application in Cloud Arch.
REFERENCES
[1] J. Elasalah, Y. Al-Sahli, A. Akish, O. Saad, A. Hakemi.
(2013). “The Influence of Recycled Expanded Polystyrene
(EPS) on Concrete Properties: Influence on Flexural
Strength, Water Absorption and Shrinkage”. Department of
Materials & Metallurgical ENG., university of Tripoli, Libya.
(online
article).
http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=
e663787e-f122-47a8-bba70a9f855a9283%40sessionmgr113&vid=7&hid=101
[2]S. Okuda, S. Bhagra. (2013). “Cloud Arch: Application of
an EPS composite to create an ultra-lightweight long span
University of Pittsburgh, Swanson School of Engineering
Submission date: 2016/01/29
1
Craig Fischer
Ricky Taylor
sustainable structure”. Faculty of Architecture, Delft
University
of
Technology.
(online
article).
http://repository.tudelft.nl/search/conferencepapers/?q=title
%3A%22Cloud%20Arch%3A%20Application%20of%20an
%20EPS%20composite%20to%20create%20an%20ultralightweight%20long-span%20sustainable%20structure%22
Strength, Water Absorption and Shrinkage”. Department of
Materials & Metallurgical ENG., university of Tripoli, Libya.
(online
article).
http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=
e663787e-f122-47a8-bba70a9f855a9283%40sessionmgr113&vid=7&hid=101
This article, from a professional, peer-reviewed paper
from the University of Tripoli, Libya, details the effects
adding expanded polystyrene can have on lightweight
concrete. The article also provides an introduction to what
expanded polystyrene is and the qualities that it has.
Information from this article will help us to introduce
expanded polystyrene as a possible alternative construction
material.
[3] M. Manibo. (2014). “Singapore researchers unveil new
light-as-cloud architectural technology”. Eco-Business.
(online
article).
http://www.ecobusiness.com/news/singapore-researchers-unveil-new-lightas-cloud-architectural-technology/
[4] (2008). “Polystyrene Facts Sheet”. Harvard University.
(online
pdf).
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic967858.files/Polyst
yreneFactSheets.pdf
“Long-span construction: Ultra-light-weight cloud arch
architectural technology for sustainable construction”.
(2014). National University of Singapore. (online article).
http://www.scienceday.com/releases/2014/10/141010084045
.htm
This article, from a professional, peer reviewed paper
from the National University of Singapore outlines the goal
and project that the research team is working on at the
university. It describes the Cloud Arch technology and the use
of EPS within the project. We will use this source to learn
more about Cloud Arch and its uses in construction and the
role EPS plays in its construction.
[5] J. Alexandre , A.R.G. Azevedo, C.L. de Assis Paula e
Silva Silva , C.M.F. Vieira , V.S. Candido , & S.N. Monteiro.
(2014). “Technical feasibility of using lightweight concrete
with expanded polystyrene in civil construction”. Materials
Science
Forum.
(online
article).
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757899X/71/1/012002/pdf.
[6] T. Noguchi, H. Tomita, K. Satake, H. Watanabe. (1998).
“New recycling system for expanded polystyrene using a
natural solvent. Part 3. Life cycle assessment”. Sony
Corporation
Research
Center
(online
article).
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)10991522(199802)11:1%3C39::AID-PTS416%3E3.0.CO;2Y/abstract
M. Manibo. (2014). “Singapore researchers unveil new lightas-cloud architectural technology”. Eco-Business. (online
article).
http://www.eco-business.com/news/singaporeresearchers-unveil-new-light-as-cloud-architecturaltechnology/
In this professional business article, the technology is
described in detail. The author thoroughly explains the uses
and developments surrounding the innovation—in roofing
structures--, and explains the economic advantages and time
reduction. . The author also lists a few disadvantages,
specifically those to the environment such as disposal errors
and production waste that harms the environment. These
topics, both positive and negative, can be used effectively in
this conference paper.
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
J. Alexandre , A.R.G. Azevedo, C.L. de Assis Paula e Silva
Silva , C.M.F. Vieira , V.S. Candido , & S.N. Monteiro.
(2014). “Technical feasibility of using lightweight concrete
with expanded polystyrene in civil construction”. Materials
Science
Forum.
(online
article).
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757899X/71/1/012002/pdf.
This article, from a professional, peer-reviewed paper
from the Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia, details
information on the different materials used to build houses
and compares them against each other. The article outlines the
positive effects using expanded polystyrene as a construction
material brings. This article has certain data that will help us
describe the positive effects EPS has through its energy
consumption compared to other materials.
T. Noguchi, H. Tomita, K. Satake, H. Watanabe. (1998).
“New recycling system for expanded polystyrene using a
natural solvent. Part 3. Life cycle assessment”. Sony
Corporation
Research
Center
(online
article).
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)10991522(199802)11:1%3C39::AID-PTS416%3E3.0.CO;2Y/abstract
This professional, science article was found in a textbook
on packaging technology and science. This paper discusses a
new innovative technique for recycling and disposing of the
polystyrene by using a series of chemical treatments that are
nontoxic to the environment. This source will also contribute
to the argument against the environmental impacts posed by
J. Elasalah, Y. Al-Sahli, A. Akish, O. Saad, A. Hakemi.
(2013). “The Influence of Recycled Expanded Polystyrene
(EPS) on Concrete Properties: Influence on Flexural
2
Craig Fischer
Ricky Taylor
this material, as it will reduce the waste in landfills and
pollution within the environment.
S. Okuda, S. Bhagra. (2013). “Cloud Arch: Application of an
EPS composite to create an ultra-lightweight long span
sustainable structure”. Faculty of Architecture, Delft
University
of
Technology.
(online
article).
http://repository.tudelft.nl/search/conferencepapers/?q=title
%3A%22Cloud%20Arch%3A%20Application%20of%20an
%20EPS%20composite%20to%20create%20an%20ultralightweight%20long-span%20sustainable%20structure%22
This source is a peer written abstract proposal for a
conference paper. The article calls for the transition of use of
polystyrene to switch from insulation and landfills, to uses
such as roofing structures, altered to fit fire code standards
and have the strength and durability to last as such. The topics
of this proposal directly correlate to this proposal and offer a
further investigation into topics of discussion.
(2008). “Polystyrene Facts Sheet”. Harvard University.
(online
pdf).
http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic967858.files/Polyst
yreneFactSheets.pdf
This source is a PDF file published by Harvard students
and staff to describe the harmful effects this product has on
the environment. The fact sheet lists all the harmful effects on
the environment and pollution of sea, land, and air. The
information presented in this article offers a rebuttal to our
proposal, and a challenge to find a solution to argue for the
advancement of this technology.
“Selecting a topic video”. (2015). University of Pittsburgh
library
resources.
(online
video).
http://www.library.pitt.edu/other/files/il/fresheng/index.html
This online video from the University of Pittsburgh
library outlines the steps to choose a topic. It introduces the
various databases available to students. It also provides
examples of the correct way to use the resources that will lead
to success. Although not directly related to the topic it is an
important source as it pointed us in the right direction and
taught us how to use our resources.
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the importance of expanded polystyrene in long span structures