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Styropor® or Styrofoam® is expanded polystyrene

(EPS) that consists of about 98 % air and 2 %


polystyrene. Thanks to its extremely low density, it is
primarily used for packaging food and fragile products as
well as an insulating material. Although the constant
increase in the price of crude oil has a direct impact on the
price of EPS also, still the production continues to grow.
According to statistics, on a volume basis, EPS forms
nearly 7 % of solid waste in landfills in some countries.
Since it is a non-biodegradable material, EPS contributes
significantly to the pollution of the environment, and in
many European countries these products are being totally
banned from landfills, with the originating manufacturer
being responsible for their collection, recycling, or
disposal.

Expanded polystyrene aggregate concrete (EPSAC)


or the so called "Styropor-beton" was originally
developed by BASF in West Germany during the 1950′s,
shortly after their invention of expanded polystyrene. In
70’s lightweight aggregate concretes (LWAC) with EPS
beads began to be developed and applied throughout the
world. Since EPS beads are very hydrophobic, ordinary
and homogeneous mixing of such concrete was always
difficult. The problem was usually solved by previous
chemical treatment of beads to increase their stickiness to
the cement paste (e.g. epoxy resins, polyvinyl propionate
solutions) or by increasing the cohesion in fresh concrete
by adding silica fume or fibres [1].

Expanded polystyrene aggregate concrete made with


virgin EPS beads (Fig. 1) is not widely used. Due to the
hydrophobic behaviour of virgin EPS beads and since
they are few dozen times lighter than water, EPS concrete
is prone to segregation during mixing and casting.
Another reason for poor application is the high cost of
virgin EPS beads, the semi-products for producing new
packaging and insulating materials - in contrast to
recycled EPS which is a cheap waste material.

Next to EPS aggregate and sometimes fibre, cement


is a component that participates most in the final cost of
EPSAC. In previous research works, mixtures were often
used with more than 500 kg/m3 or even more than 600
kg/m3. A large amount of cement in concrete made with
EPS aggregate increases the cost irrationally making it
unpopular for practical use. Good adhesion between the
aggregate and cement paste, compactness, better
workability and acceptable strength of EPSACs can also
succeed, using cement in smaller quantities, as it will be
shown.

Besides the economic aspect, a large amount of


cement (especially in the case of CEM I and CEM II) is in
contradiction with the principles of sustainable
development and environmental protection. Therefore,
priority should be rather given to blast furnace and
pozzolanic cements and composites, and when it is
possible, even to the use of fly ash instead of sand [2].

Researches on lightweight aggregate concrete with


EPS beads have been carried out since 1984 at the Faculty
of Civil Engineering in Subotica. Vast experience was
gained from tests made in the Laboratory for Building
Materials & Constructions, and applications of this type
of concrete led to the first patent report on this subject in
1998 [3], where recycled, shredded EPS was used as a
lightweight aggregate instead of EPS beads.

This change in aggregate caused a big difference not


only in physical and mechanical characteristics of LWAC
but also made a significant technological improvement in
production technology by simplifying it at the same time.
By using recycled EPS aggregate, segregation does not
appear any more. Many variations of lightweight concrete
mixes with recycled, ground EPS aggregate were
designed and used for very wide and diverse application:
lightweight mortars with a density of 350 kg/m3, floor
screed, insulating-formwork masonry units, reinforced
lightweight concrete walls and reinforced lightweight
concrete slab constructions for the range of up to 6 m.
Lightweight concrete panels with one outer steel plate
were used to build a 1500 m2 factory (Fig. 6).
Concrete masonry unit or hollow concrete block is an important and common member in building
construction in Philippines. Usage of expanded polystyrene or styrofoam is increasing rapidly in
Philippines and this country is facing the challenge of overflowing of landfills and impacts of disposal of
garbage. Moreover, the styrofoam can provide thermal insulation that can reduce the consumption of
electricity for cooling which is highly important since Philippines has tropical climate. This research
intends to study the possibility of using recycled styrofoam within the local concrete blocks for the
purpose of building construction with the focus of verifying the compressive strength. Hollow concrete
block is a significant kind of masonry units existing for the builders and its application for masonry
construction is increasing continuously. (Ahmad et al, 2014) Hollow concrete blocks may be used, as
alternatives to bricks and traditional stones in construction and buildings. Due to its smaller weight and
ease of transfer compared to bricks. Moreover, it provides an advantage of uniform quality as well as
speeding in construction and the largest durability. On one hand economically, they are less expensive,
and consume less cement and less involvement of laborers. In addition, they can be used, in different
places. Such as the interior walls, exterior walls bearing, and columns, the compound walls, and
retaining walls etc. (Maroliya, 2012) several researches completed particularly to study the compressive
behavior of concrete blocks mixed with other materials, commencing with ‘High-Performance Concrete
Masonry-Block Mix Design’ by Amiri et al. This research was conducted on concrete block masonry
design in 1994. This study looked at 41 different kinds of concrete mix designs and assessed the
compressive strength of concrete with different types of aggregates. Amiri et al study determined that
use of a minimum void gradation and a maximum aggregate size 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) allow a high
performance of lightweight to reduce the cost of concrete masonry block. Chandrakeerthy investigated
on four test methods concerning properties of cement blocks to study the relationship of variables and
properties with compressive strength at 1991. Chandrakeethy’s study suggests the implementation of
one-part cement to one-part sand capping with plywood packing. Compressive behavior of concrete
with vitrified soil aggregate was tested by Palmquist et al through examination of 10 batches at four
different coarse aggregate volume fractions with three different combinations of vitrified and natural
coarse aggregates. Results show that compressive strength decreases when volume fraction of vitrified
soil aggregate increases. (2001). Researches by Ahmad et al (2014) to compare masonry hollow concrete
block and masonry brick and Maroliya (2012) on load carrying capacity of hollow concrete block
masonry wall confirmed that the strength of hollow concrete block masonry wall is lower than brick
masonry wall but the cost of construction of hollow concrete masonry wall is less. Stahl et al (2002) used
recycled wood aggregate to prepare lightweight concrete masonry blocks and control the outcome to
meet the conditions of ASTM C129.Trial cylinders and blocks were tested and found to be complying
with the standard in terms of weight, compressive strength and durability. However economic
performance was not studied.

Philippines is facing challenges with regards to solid waste management and recycling. Since water
pollution is a major problem in Philippines consuming styrofoam is greatly common and therefore waste
management is a major challenge. Moreover, hollow concrete blocks are vastly used in building
construction in and thermal insulation of walls is another challenge that is faced in the hot climate of
Philippines. Using EPS Hollow Block may be a solution to some of the stated challenges. This study
attempts to test the comparison of EPS Hollow Block to Hollow Concrete Block in terms of weight and
durability.