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Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578

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Construction and Building Materials


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Properties of concrete containing waste expanded polystyrene


and natural resin
Ayse KAYA , Filiz KAR
Department of Chemical Engineering, Firat University, 23119 Elazig, Turkey

h i g h l i g h t s
 New lightweight materials are produced by using EPS and resin.
 The new produced materials are subjected to thermal and mechanical tests.
 The new produced samples can be used as partition walls, floorings, ceiling concretes, briquettes or bricks and plaster.

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 28 January 2015
Received in revised form 8 December 2015
Accepted 22 December 2015
Available online 4 January 2016
Keywords:
Expanded polystyrene waste
Tragacanth
Light concretes
Insulation materials

a b s t r a c t
In this study, the waste expanded polystyrene (EPS) was used in a mixture of cement and tragacanth resin
in order to produce a new concrete material. The amount of the resin in the mixture was 0.5%, 1% and
1.5% of the total cement + EPS. The EPS ratios in the samples were determined as 20%, 40%, 60% and
80% of the total volume.
The new samples were subjected to some tests to find out some thermal and mechanical properties. It
was concluded that, when EPS ratios and resin ratios of the samples increased, the density, thermal conductivity, compressive strength and tensile strength decreased, and the porosity increased. The change in
the physical properties shows that, some artificial pores (except from EPSs pores) are formed in concrete
blocks which allow to increase the insulation characteristic of the material.
As a result, it was recommended that; using EPS aggregated and resin-added concrete, (i) the waste EPS
can be evaluated and environmental pollution can be prevented, (ii) the new produced samples can be
used as partition walls, floorings, ceiling concretes, briquettes or bricks and plaster instead of buildingcarrier systems such as columns or beams and by this the load of the building can be decreased.
2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Lightweight aggregates are broadly classified into two types;
natural (pumice, volcanic cinders etc.) and artificial (perlite,
expanded clay, fly ash etc.). The expanded polystyrene (EPS) beads
is a type of artificial ultra-lightweight [1]. The EPS is a packaging
and insulation material which is widely used in a variety of industrial fields in the world. This material is released to the nature after
it is used once and is hard to disappear through natural means. For
this reason, recycling of EPS is essential in terms of economy and
environmental pollution. The research on the recycling of waste
EPS can be grouped under two categories. The first category
includes the studies on using EPS as aggregate in concrete and

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: abicer@firat.edu.tr (A. KAYA).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.12.177
0950-0618/ 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

the second group of studies is on recycling methods of EPS namely


mechanical, thermal and chemical.
The mechanical recycling researches are related to the usage of
EPS as aggregate in the concrete. The EPS concrete is a mixture that
consists of cement, sand and polystyrene aggregate. The lightweight concrete can be obtained by totally or partially replacing
the standard aggregate with low-weight components which are
summarized below.
Babu et al. [2] examined the mechanical features of light concretes produced by using fly ash with EPS. The composite material
which includes 50% of fly ash and from 0% to 66.5% of EPS, instead
of conventional aggregate and found that the density varied from
2.200 to 0.550 g/cm3 and the compressive strengths ranged from
22 MPa to 0.55 MPa.
Some researchers who preferred to use new ingredients instead
of conventional ones are as follows: Benazzouk et al. [3] used rubber particles (3050%) instead of sand, Demirel [4] used cement

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A. KAYA, F. KAR / Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578

and pumice alternatively to the sand, Bourvard et al. [5] studied


the physical properties of cement with millimetre-size EPS
spheres. Three of the mentioned researches have shown that the
density, the thermal conductivity and the compressive strength
varied according to the mixture ratios of each component. Table 1
exhibits those measured values comparatively to the present
studys results.
Chen and Liu [6] investigated the density and concrete strength
values of the concretes created by partial replacement with rough
and thin natural aggregate of EPS beads with 3 mm and 8 mm
diameters. Nabajyoti and Brito [7] reported the properties of
plastic aggregates and the various fresh and hardened concrete
properties of cement mortar and concrete in presence of plastic
aggregate in their paper. Milled et al. [8,9] presented that EPS
foams could also be used in panel walls, concrete briquettes and
similar construction applications.
Kan and Demirboga [10,11] developed a new recycling process
of the waste EPS foams by using heat treatment. Before the heat
treatment, the average density, thermal conductivity and compressive strength of waste EPS foams were 0.010 g/cm3, 0.0368 W/m K,
and 0.12 MPa, respectively. After the modification, the density,
thermal conductivity and compressive strength of waste EPS,
increased to 0.217 g/cm3, 0.0555 W/m K and 8.29 MPa,
respectively.
Some thermal recycling studies, including modification of waste
EPS and its reuse after the changes in its physical characteristics,
were performed by Xue et al. [12]. He used the EPS packages in a
thermal decomposition method, exposed them to temperatures
over 400 C and obtained some kind of fueloil from these EPS at
this temperature. Gnip et al. [13] investigated the thermal conductivity of EPS at 10 C and its conversion to temperatures within
interval from 0 to 50 C.
Sulkowski et al. [14] examined the chemical recycling of polymers. Bajdur et al. [15] studied the chemical recycling of EPS. They
performed a synthesis of sulfonic derivatives of EPS wastes in order
to obtain efficient polyelectrolytes. Abes et al. [16] transformed
waste polystyrene to cation exchange resin and used it to remove
lead and cadmium metals from aqueous solution. Thomas et al.
[17] reviewed the basic literature on polymers which harden with
heat and recycling of their mixtures and components. Choi et al.
[18] obtained a solution by melting waste EPS in a solvent material
and mixing it with silica sand and observed the changes in the
mechanical properties of this mortar in cold and hot water.

In the present study, instead of conventional components, tragacanth resin and EPS particles were added in a mixture. As known,
the tragacanth absorbs the water during the time that it is kept in
the water then it swells. After the swelled tragacanth is added into
the cement and EPS, it remains to dye, and so the absorbed water
inside the mixture vaporizes and this results with new pores.
Thats to say that, additionally to the EPSs pores extra artificial
pores occur in the mixture. In order to determine the impact of
resin addition on the material, the produced samples are subjected
to mechanical and thermal tests. The results of the test are compared to the properties of similar materials.

2. Experimental
2.1. Materials
The EPS is a material that it consists of air in 98%, and the rest is polystyrene
[19,20]. Block EPS obtained from EPS manufacturing facility are used in the production of samples at the disintegration unit of the same factory according to 03 mm
particle diameters.
Tragacanth is a kind of glue which leaks from the wounds opened on the body of
astragalus plant. It is in the form of circular plates or different shaped parts with
0.53 mm thickness and 13 cm diameter. Its color is white or light yellow and it
is odorless [21,22]. It is a polysaccharide mixture. The portion which dissolves in
water is coined trigakantin and the part which is not dissolved in water is called
bassorin. It is used in pharmaceutics technique for making such preparations as
emulsion, suspension, pastille and tablet; in marbling art it is used in dye and fabric
industry. Tragacanth resin, which is obtained dry, is remained in water and waited
for 48 h for swelling and expansion; then it is knead and filtered to make a solution.
CEM IV/B (P) 32.5 R pozzolanic cement is used to a gum tragacanth-water solution as a binder to EPS. The cement components are given in Table 2.

Table 2
Chemical composition of cement used (%).
Chemical characteristics

Cement (%)

Silica (SiO2)
Alumina (Al2O3)
Ferric oxide (Fe2O3)
Calcium oxide (CaO)
Magnesium oxide (MgO)
SO3
Sodium oxide (Na2O)
Sodium oxide (Na2O)
Chlorine, (Cl)
Loss on ignition (L0I)
Not available

23.51
6.15
4
58.51
2.27
2.37

0.10
2.04
1.05

Table 1
Physical properties of similar studies.
Material

Cement and rubber particle (30%)


Cement and rubber particle (40%)
Cement and rubber particle (50%)
EPS + pumice blocks
Cement + EPS
Waste EPS (before heat treatment)
Waste EPS (after heat treatment)
Cement + clay + wood pellet (10%)
Cement + clay + wood pellet (20%)
Cement + clay + wood pellet (30%)
Sample 1
Sample 4
Sample 5
Sample 8
Sample 9
Sample 12
Sample 13
Sample 16

Experimental values

Literature

Density (g/cm3)

Thermal conductivity (W/m K)

Compressive strength (MPa)

1.473
1.300
1.150
0.5780.600
0.4920.961
10
217
1.010
0.870
0.700
0.65
1.57
0.593
1.390
0.536
1.232
0.482
1.083

0.625
0.516
0.470
0.130
0.1640.300
0.0368
0.0555
0.220
0.160
0.140
0.061
0.390
0.056
0.350
0.050
0.320
0.048
0.284

23.30
16.00
10.50
1.77 (N/mm2)
0.89.2
0.12
8.12
2.67
2.35
1.35
1.82
16.87
1.12
14.6
0.89
10.85
0.46
5.87

[3]

[4]
[5]
[9]
[23]

Present

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A. KAYA, F. KAR / Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578


2.3. Thermal and mechanical tests
The Isomet 2104 unit which works according to the hot wire methodology of
DIN 51046 is used to measure the thermal conductivities of the specimens. Its range
and sensitivity are 0.0210 W/m K and 5% of its scale, respectively [19]. The measurements on three locations of each sample block are repeated three times to
reflect the average of nine values.
The mechanical strength tests on the samples are considered according to the
ASTM C 109-80 standard. The compressive strength tests are applied on each sample block. The tensile strength values are calculated according to the TS 500 standard by Eq. (1).

q
f ctk 0:35 f ck

where fck is the compressive strength (MPa) and fctk is the tensile strength (MPa).
The aim of water absorption test is to investigate the maximum amount of
observed water ratio in the samples. This property is important in determining
the suitability of the sample against freezing hazards. The critical amount of moisture is 30% of the total dry volume, below which the material does not deform on
freezing [19]. The experiments are performed according to the BS 812 Part 2 standard by keeping the specimens in the water during 24 h. The water absorption values are calculated by Eq. (2) and drying ratio values are calculated by Eq. (3).

Water absorption percentage fW d  W k =W k g  100

Drying ratio fW d  W k =W d g  100

where Wk is the dry weight of sample and Wd is the wet weight of sample
The density method is used to determine the porosity of the samples. Porosity
(U) is defined by Eq. (4), [24].

U 1

qporous
qsolid

The Eq. (4) applied to this study can be written as Eq. (5).

/1

qEPS  Z qbinder  1  Z
qEPS matrix  Z qbinder matrix  1  Z

where qporous is the density of the porous material while qsolid is the density of solid
material (the density of the sample after milling and so causing no porosity). qbinder
is the density of the resin mixture of cement, and qbinder matrix is the density of the
resin mixture of cement with 0% porosity ratio. Z is the EPS ratio (%) and (1  Z) is
the binder ratio (%).
The results determined from Eq. (5) and presented in Table 5. Drilling, grooving
and coloring test has been applied to specimens in usability testing.

3. Results and discussions

Fig. 1. (a) View of dry tragacanth, (b) extract resin.

3.1. Thermal conductivity


Table 3
Weight of the material composition to volumetric ratio (gr).
Material weight (g)

EPS
Cement

Volume ratio (%)


20

40

60

80

5.2
450

10.4
900

15.6
1350

20.4
1800

2.2. Preparation of samples


The first thing to do for production of samples is the preparation of the resin
(Fig. 1). It takes a long time to prepare the tragacanth. The amount of dry tragacanth
that should be added in the mixture is 0.5%, 1%, 1.5% of the sum of cement and EPS
in the mixture. The 80 g of dry tragacanth is completely dissolved in 5 l of water
(decided by preparation tests).
The mixing ratios are determined by using a scaled cup as seen in Table 3. The
tragacanth weight is the 0.5%, 1% and 1.5% of the total weight of the sample (like
water + extract resin/cement = 0.5). Here is the explanation of the preparation of
Sample 2 in detail: The weight of Sample 2, consisting of 40% EPS and 60% cement
is; 10.4 + 1350 = 1360.4 g. In order to add 0.5% tragacanth to this batch,
1360.4  0.5/100 = 6.8 g of tragacanth is required. Since, 80 g of resin is dissolved
in 5 l of water, then 0.425 l of water is required for 6.8 g of resin. Similarly, resin
addition rates are determined by making calculations for other samples. The
weights after mixing the cement and EPS with the mentioned percentages are listed
in Table 4.
The prepared mortars are molded to 100  100  100 mm formworks for
mechanical tests and 20  60  150 mm formworks for thermal tests and left to
drying for standard period of 28 days. By this way, 16 different types of
combined-samples are produced.

An examination of Fig. 2 shows that thermal conductivity


decrease as the share of EPS and resin increases. This is caused
by the fact that 98% of EPS, which has closed pores, is air, and
the rest is polystyrene. A second reason is that tragacanth resin
absorbs water and swells during the 48 h of melting water. During
the 28 days of drying period of the samples, they lose the water in
their structure. For this reason artificial micro-pores are formed
outside EPS pores in the cement area of the material (Fig 3).
Increasing of EPS ratio in the mixture from 20% to 80% in the noresin samples such as sample 1 and sample 4, the thermal conductivity decreases from 0.390 to 0.061 W/m K. In the samples with
1.5% resin, the values of the thermal conductivity ranges from
0.284 to 0.048 W/m K (sample 13 and sample 16). The decrement
ratio, because of the EPS addition, is 84.35% for the sample without
resin and 83.10% for the samples with resin. The effect of the resin
addition to the samples causes to enhance the thermal conductivity. For example in the sample with 20% EPS (Sample 1 and Sample
13) the thermal conductivity increase up to 27.18%, meanwhile in
the sample with 80% EPS the increment is found to be 21.31%
(Sample 4 and Sample 16).
Table 1 presents the comparison of the present values to some
from literature. For instance; the thermal conductivities of the
samples with 1.5% resin are lower than the ones from Ref. [3].
The thermal conductivities of the samples 13 and 14 are found to
be lower than the ones from Refs. [4,5].

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A. KAYA, F. KAR / Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578


Table 4
Details of the cementEPSresin mixes.
Samples

Volumetric ratio (%)

Weight (g)

Total weight (g)

Resin (g)

Resin (lt)

(W + R)/C

EPS (%)

Cement (%)

EPS (g)

Cement (g)

Tragacanth (0%)
Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3
Sample 4

80
60
40
20

20
40
60
80

20.4
15.6
10.4
5.2

450
900
1350
1800

470.4
915.6
1360.4
1805.2

0.5

Tragacanth (0.5%)
Sample 5
Sample 6
Sample 7
Sample 8

80
60
40
20

20
40
60
80

20.4
15.6
10.4
5.2

450
900
1350
1800

470.4
915.6
1360.4
1805.2

2.36
4.58
6.8
9.03

0.15
0.29
0.43
0.57

0.5

Tragacanth (1%)
Sample 9
Sample 10
Sample 11
Sample 12

80
60
40
20

20
40
60
80

20.4
15.6
10.4
5.2

450
900
1350
1800

470.4
915.6
1360.4
1805.2

4.71
9.16
13.60
18.05

0.3
0.58
0.85
1.13

0.5

Tragacanth (1.5)
Sample 13
Sample 14
Sample 15
Sample 16

80
60
40
20

20
40
60
80

20.4
15.6
10.4
5.2

450
900
1350
1800

470.4
915.6
1360.4
1805.2

7.1
13.74
20.41
27.08

0.45
0.86
1.3
1.7

0.5

W: Water, R: Resin, C: Cement, resin = total weight (g)  resin ratio (%).

Table 5
Thermal and mechanical properties of samples.
Samples

EPS ratio (%)

Density
(g/cm3)

Porosity (%)

Thermal conductivity
(W/m K)

Compressive
strength (MPa)

Tensile strength (MPa)

Water absorption (%)

Drying
ratio (%)

Tragacanth (0%)
Sample 1
80
Sample 2
60
Sample 3
40
Sample 4
20

0.648
0.979
1.318
1.567

63.68
39.92
22.86
10.01

0.061
0.135
0.250
0.390

1.82
4.34
11.93
16.87

0.47
0.73
1.20
1.44

16.6
19.55
22.06
23.41

8.32
11.66
14.10
16.83

Tragacanth (0.5%)
Sample 5
80
Sample 6
60
Sample 7
40
Sample 8
20

0.593
0.845
1.135
1.390

64.99
41.32
23.90
10.56

0.056
0.119
0.211
0.350

1.12
2.58
7.95
14.6

0.37
0.57
0.99
1.33

19.26
22.05
24.89
25.03

9.42
13.06
15.98
19.12

Tragacanth (1%)
Sample 9
80
Sample 10
60
Sample 11
40
Sample 12
20

0.536
0.742
1.023
1.232

65.63
42.02
24.43
10.83

0.050
0.112
0.190
0.320

0.89
1.61
5.07
10.85

0.33
0.45
0.79
1.15

21.78
24.16
25.96
26.80

11.81
14.24
17.52
21.65

Tragacanth (1.5%)
Sample 13
80
Sample 14
60
Sample 15
40
Sample 16
20

0.482
0.641
0.891
1.083

67.21
43.75
25.76
11.53

0.048
0.095
0.172
0.284

0.46
0.73
2.78
5.87

0.24
0.30
0.58
0.85

23.64
26.49
28.58
29.41

12.73
15.40
18.99
23.24

In this study, a strong relationship has been found between


thermal conductivity and density. Thermal conductivity reduces
by decreases in density (Fig. 4). The decrease of thermal conductivity with increasing EPS amounts is caused by increasing porosity.
As a significant consequence, adding resin into the mixtures
decreased thermal conductivity.
It is evident that the thermal conductivity coefficients of samples with high EPS rate are lower than the ones of several construction materials (outer plaster, inner plaster, cement block perlite
concrete and brick wall) (Table 6).

3.2. Compression and tensile strength

Fig. 2. Thermal conductivity-EPS and tragacanth percentage relation in the


specimens.

The compressive stresses of the samples without resin are measured as 16.87, 11.93, 4.39, 1.82 MPa, whereas they were measured
as 5.87, 2.78, 0.73, 0.46 MPa in the samples with 1.5% resin (Fig. 5

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A. KAYA, F. KAR / Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578

cement

EPS

(a)

pore

tragacanth
cement

(b)
Fig. 3. View of samples under microscope; (a) Sample no 4 (EPS 80%, tragacanth 0%), (b) Sample no 16 (EPS 80%, tragacanth 1.5%).

buildings. Instead they can be used as flooring, ceiling, panel walls,


brick, concrete briquettes, inner and outer plaster, concrete partition elements. Therefore; the weight of the building will be
decrease and they can be use to many tall buildings and reduce
some possible earthquake damages.
3.3. Water absorption and drying ratio

Fig. 4. Density variations according to EPS and resin.

and Table 5). The reason of this decrement is both because of the
pores in EPS and artificial pores in the cement with resin. Those
pores make the thermal conductivity to increase, but mechanical
properties to decrease. The results of the compressive strength
are closer to the ones from Refs. [4,5,23]. Based on these results,
it can be recommended that concretes with EPS aggregates and
tragacanth addition must not be used in columns and beams of

Since, EPS has a closed porous structure, it is hydrophobic. For


this reason, it can be seen from Fig. 6, that as the EPS ratio increases
in the samples, water absorption rate decreases. The water absorption ratio of the samples is found to be lower than 30%. Therefore
the samples can be use as outer plaster and walls.
As shown in Fig. 7, the drying ratios of the samples decrease as
the ratio of EPS particles increase. The EPS does not have water
absorption capacity. The moisture in the material is moving
through the surface by capillary channels. This shows the respiration capability of the material.
3.4. Density and total pore
As shown in Fig. 8, the densities of the samples decrease with
increasing the EPS ratio in the mixture. Also, as shown in Table 5,
the tragacanth addition to the mixtures results with a decrement
of the density; i.e., increasing the EPS ratio from 20% to 80%, the

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A. KAYA, F. KAR / Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578


Table 6
Thermal conductivities of different materials [20].
Material

Measured values
3

Outer plaster
Inner plaster
Gypsum thin plaster (perlite)
Gypsum rough plaster (perlite)
Plaster with cement (perlite)
Gypsum block (perlite)
Cement block (perlite)
Concrete
Ceramic
Ytong wall

Literature

Density (g/cm )

Tavr (C)

Thermal conductivity (W/m K)

Density (g/cm3)

Tavr (C)

Thermal conductivity (W/m K)

1.856
1.763
0.465
0.465
0.672
1.047
0.427
2.500
1.077
0.617

31
33
34
50.7
51.3
40
37.7
27
27.7
38.7

1.173
1.163
0.244
0.168
0.173
0.372
0.292
1.420
0.214
0.180

1.600
1.800
0.400.50
0.400.50
0.700
0.900
0.1046
2.272
2.00
0.800

20
20
20
20
20
20
20
24
20
20

0.930
1.163
0.1390.162
0.1390.162
0.244
0.221
0.300
1.512
0.988
0.383

Fig. 5. Compressive strength of the samples versus EPS percentages.

Fig. 7. Drying ratio of samples versus EPS percentages.

Fig. 6. Water absorption ratio of samples versus EPS percentages.

densities decrease as 58.65% and 55.49% for the samples without


resin and with resin respectively. Similarly the densities of samples
with 20% EPS + 1.5% tragacanth and 80% EPS + 1.5% tragacanth are
respectively lower in the percentages of 25.61 and 30.88 than
without resin samples. The densities of the samples with 1.5% tragacanth are agreeable to the ones from Refs. [5,4], but lower than
many commercial building materials and Ref. [3].
As the ratio of EPS increases, the porosity values decrease
(Table 5). The porosity is measured as 10.01%, 22.86%, 39.92%,
63.68% with no resin samples but 11.53%, 25.76%, 43.75% and
67.21% with 1.5% resin samples. Hence, the increment ratio of
the porosity is 14.28% (samples with 20% EPS) vs 5.5% (samples
with 80% EPS).

Fig. 8. Density ratio of samples versus EPS percentages.

3.5. The usability


A variety of applications are performed on the produced test
samples; such as drilling, cutting, dying etc. As a result, it can be
claimed that the samples can be cut by saws and can be screwed
easily. Also the samples are suitable for canalizing, installation
and drilling. In addition, the samples are dyed and it is found that
the dye keeping property of the samples is considerably good
(Fig. 9).

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A. KAYA, F. KAR / Construction and Building Materials 105 (2016) 572578

Fig. 9. (a) and (b) Drilling photos (c) silicone rubber coating photos (two coats), (d) oil painting.

4. Conclusions
This paper is carried out to show the possibility of the use of
waste EPS and resin instead of natural aggregate materials in concrete. The following conclusions can be drawn from this experimental study:
 In the resin added samples, because of the artificial micro pores
caused by resin, the density decreases and total porosity
increases. For this reason thermal conductivity of samples
decrease and insulation properties of the material improve. Comparatively to the results from references in archival journals, the
thermal properties of the samples with the EPS and resin, it seems
that the results are agreeable and satisfactory (Tables 1 and 6).
 The lowest thermal conductivity coefficient of the samples with
2080% EPS and 1.5% resin samples was measured as 0.048
0.284 W/m K in samples and 0.0610.390 W/m K in samples
without resin. Thermal conductivitys of samples are very smaller than traditional aggregate concrete. But, when these materials are evaluated along with their compressive and tensile
strength values, they can be evaluated as low-density concrete
platen walls, apron concretes, briquettes and brick walls. Using
lightweight concrete and plaster mixed with EPS and resin will
be lighter an earthquake damages will be mitigated; in addition,
insulation characteristic of the material will be reinforced
which will ensure energy efficiency.
 Water absorption rates appeared below 30% in all samples. For
this reason the produced materials can be used without the risk
of freezing in places with direct contact with water, like outer
plaster and walls which directly contact with water.
 These materials can be cut with saw, drilled with screw and
painted with any kind of paint.
 As a result, the EPS aggregate cement with tragacanth resin
offers can be potential construction and insulation materials
and simultaneously solve the environmental problem by recycling solid waste.

References
[1] K.G. Babu, D.S. Babu, Behavior of lightweight expanded polystyrene concrete
containing silica fume, Cem. Concr. Res. 33 (2003) 755762.
[2] D.S. Babu, K.G. Babu, T.H. Wee, Properties of lightweight expanded polystyrene
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