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Alternatives to Traditional Backfill Materials

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Copyright 2018
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Gain an understanding of the different types of lightweight backfill and the conditions that require them.Many times in doing a geotechnical engineering design a geotechnical engineer will encounter problem soils that in the past would have required complex, expensive solutions to solve in order to build the project. In the last 20 -25 years the use of geosynthetics products have enabled the designer to develop a design that not only enables the project to be built, but at a less expensive investment from both an initial cost and a life cycle cost. One of the more recent geosynthetics that have met this need is the development and use of geofoam as an alternative lightweight backfill material. The ASTM International Committee D35 on Geosynthetics defines geofoam as a block or rigid cellular foamed polymeric material used in geotechnical engineering applications. This program will review the types of conditions that require lightweight backfill material, a review of geofoam, its properties, and testing. An example specification will be presented, followed by examples of where the material has been successfully used.


L. David Suits, North American Geosynthetics

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