Title:
Lightweight concrete compositions
United States Patent RE43253


Abstract:
A lightweight concrete composition containing from 10 to 90 volume percent of a cement composition, from 10 to 90 volume percent of particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 8 mm, a bulk density of from 0.03 g/cc to 0.64 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and from 0 to 50 volume percent of aggregate; where the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent, and where after the lightweight concrete composition is set it has a compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as tested according to ASTM C39 after seven days. The concrete composition can be used to make concrete masonry units, construction panels, road beds and other articles.



Inventors:
Ladely, Tricia Guevara (Beaver, PA, US)
Williams, Michael T. (Beaver Falls, PA, US)
Cowan, David A. (Cranberry Township, PA, US)
Madish, John K. (New Brighton, PA, US)
Adewale, Kolapo (Shelby, NC, US)
Moore, Roger (Columbia, TN, US)
Moore, Legal Representative Mary Margaret (Columbia, TN, US)
Hileman, Blain (New Castle, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/770221
Publication Date:
03/20/2012
Filing Date:
04/29/2010
Assignee:
NOVA Chemicals Inc. (Moon Township, PA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
106/644, 106/696, 106/705, 106/713, 106/716, 106/718, 106/727, 106/737, 106/823
International Classes:
C04B16/08
Field of Search:
106/724, 106/644, 106/696, 106/705, 106/713, 106/716, 106/718, 106/727, 106/737, 106/823
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MARCANTONI, PAUL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE WEBB LAW FIRM, P.C. (ONE GATEWAY CENTER 420 FT. DUQUESNE BLVD, SUITE 1200, PITTSBURGH, PA, 15222, US)
Parent Case Data:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 7,699,929 arising from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/190,724, filed Aug. 13, 2008 entitled “Lightweight Concrete Compositions”, which was a continuation of Ser. No. 11/387,198 filed Mar. 22, 2006, U.S. Pat. No. 7,644,548 arising from U.S. application Ser. No. 11/361,654 filed Feb. 24, 2006 and entitled “Lightweight Concrete Compositions,” which claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. Nos. 60/664,230 filed Mar. 22, 2005 entitled “Light Weight Concrete Composite Using EPS Beads” and 60/686,858 filed Jun. 2, 2005 entitled “Lightweight Compositions and Materials,” which are both all herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

Claims:
We claim:

1. A pre-cast and pre-stressed construction article containing a lightweight concrete composition comprising from 10 to 90 volume percent of a cement composition, from 10 to 90 volume percent of particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 3 mm, a bulk density of from 0.028 g/cc to 0.48 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and have a continuous outer layer, from 0 to 50 volume percent of aggregate, and less than one percent by weight with respect to total weight of the composition of air-entraining agents; wherein the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent; wherein the concrete composition has a density of from about 90 to about 130 lb./ft3; and wherein after the lightweight concrete composition is set for seven days, has a compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as tested according to ASTM C39.

2. A lightweight concrete article made according to a method comprising: identifying the density and strength properties of a set lightweight concrete composition; determining the type, size and density of polymer beads to be expanded for use in the lightweight concrete composition; determining the size and density the polymer beads are to be expanded to; expanding the polymer beads to form expanded polymer beads; dispersing the expanded polymer beads in a cementitious mixture containing a hydraulic cement composition to form the lightweight concrete composition; and allowing the lightweight concrete composition to set in a desired form; wherein the lightweight concrete composition comprises from 10 to 90 volume percent of a cement composition, from 10 to 90 volume percent of particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 3 mm, a bulk density of from 0.028 g/cc to 0.48 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and have a continuous outer layer, from 0 to 20 volume percent of coarse aggregate, from 10 to 50 volume percent of fine aggregate, and less than one percent by weight with respect to total weight of the composition of air-entraining agents; wherein the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent; wherein the concrete composition has a density of from about 90 to about 130 lb./ft3; and wherein after the lightweight concrete composition is set for seven days, has a compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as tested according to ASTM C39.

3. A pre-cast construction article containing a concrete composition comprising from 10 to 90 volume percent of a cement composition, from 10 to 90 volume percent of particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 3 mm, a bulk density of from 0.028 g/cc to 0.48 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and have a continuous outer layer, from 0 to 50 volume percent of aggregate, and less than one percent by weight with respect to total weight of the composition of air-entraining agents; wherein the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent; wherein the concrete composition has a density of from about 90 to about 130 lb./ft3; and wherein after the lightweight concrete composition is set for seven days, has a compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as tested according to ASTM C39.

4. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein the particles comprise expanded polymer particles having an inner cell wall thickness of at least at least 0.15 μm.

5. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein the particles comprise expanded polymer particles comprising one or more polymers selected from the group consisting of homopolymers of vinyl aromatic monomers; copolymers of at least one vinyl aromatic monomer with one or more of divinylbenzene, conjugated dienes, alkyl methacrylates, alkyl acrylates, acrylonitrile, and/or maleic anhydride; polyolefins; polycarbonates; polyesters; polyamides; natural rubbers; synthetic rubbers; and combinations thereof.

6. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein the particles comprise expanded polymer particles prepared by expanding a polymer bead having an unexpanded average resin particle size of from about 0.2 mm to about 2 mm.

7. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein the cement composition comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of Portland cements, pozzolana cements, gypsum cements, aluminous cements, magnesia cements, silica cements, and slag cements.

8. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein the concrete composition comprises sand, fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, plasticizers and/or fibers.

9. The construction article according to claim 8, wherein the fibers are selected from the group consisting of glass fibers, silicon carbide, aramid fibers, polyester, carbon fibers, composite fibers, fiberglass, combinations thereof, fabric containing said fibers, and fabric containing combinations of said fibers.

10. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein a standard 2 ½ inch drywall screw, screwed into the formed and set concrete composition to a depth of 1 ½ inches, is not removed by applying 500 pounds of force perpendicular to the surface screwed into for one minute.

11. The construction article according to claim 2, wherein the particles comprise expanded polymer particles prepared by expanding a polymer bead having an unexpanded average resin particle size of from about 0.2 mm to about 2 mm.

12. The construction article according to claim 11, wherein the particles comprise polystyrene.

13. The construction article according to claim 2, wherein the coarse aggregate is selected from the group consisting of stone, gravel, ground granulated blast furnace slag, fly ash, glass, expanded slate, clay; pumice, perlite, vermiculite, scoria, diatomite, expanded shale, expanded clay, expanded slag, pelletized aggregate, extruded fly ash, tuft, macrolite, slate, expanded blast furnace slag, sintered fly ash, coal cinders, and combinations thereof.

14. The construction article according to claim 2, wherein the fine aggregate comprises sand.

15. The construction article according to claim 2, wherein the lightweight concrete composition comprises from 0.1 to 1 volume percent of one or more additives selected from the group consisting of anti-foam agents, water-proofing agents, dispersing agents, set-accelerators, set-retarders, plasticizing agents, superplasticizing agents, freezing point decreasing agents, adhesiveness-improving agents, colorants and combinations thereof.

16. The construction article according to claim 1, wherein the particles comprise expanded polymer particles prepared by expanding a polymer bead having an unexpanded average resin particle size of from about 0.2 mm to about 2 mm.

17. The construction article according to claim 1, wherein the construction article comprises prestressing tendons.

18. The construction article according to claim 1, wherein the lightweight concrete composition comprises from 0.1 to 1 volume percent of one or more additives selected from the group consisting of anti-foam agents, water-proofing agents, dispersing agents, set-accelerators, set-retarders, plasticizing agents, superplasticizing agents, freezing point decreasing agents, adhesiveness-improving agents, colorants and combinations thereof.

19. The construction article according to claim 1, wherein the lightweight concrete composition is free of air entraining agents.

20. The concrete article according to claim 2, wherein the lightweight concrete composition is free of air entraining agents.

21. The construction article according to claim 3, wherein the lightweight concrete composition is free of air entraining agents.

22. A dry mixture comprising: 10 to 90 volume percent of a cement composition, 10 to 90 volume percent of expanded particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 3 mm, a bulk density of from 0.028 g/cc to 0.52 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and a continuous outer layer, 0 to 50 volume percent of one or more aggregates, and 0 to 1 volume percent of one or more additives; wherein the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent; wherein the dry mixture is packaged for future use; wherein after the dry mixture is mixed with a sufficient amount of water to cause the mixture to set and bind, the resulting concrete composition has a density of from 90 to about 130 lb./ft3 and a seven day compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as determined according to ASTM C39.

23. The mixture according to claim 22, wherein the expanded particles comprise one or more polymers selected from the group consisting of homopolymers of vinyl aromatic monomers; copolymers of at least one vinyl aromatic monomer with one or more of divinylbenzene, conjugated dienes, alkyl methacrylates, alkyl acrylates, acrylonitrile, and/or maleic anhydride; polyolefins; polycarbonates; polyesters; polyamides; natural rubbers; synthetic rubbers; and combinations thereof.

24. The mixture according to claim 22, wherein the particles comprise expanded polymer particles prepared by expanding a polymer bead having an unexpanded average resin particle size of from about 0.2 mm to about 2 mm.

25. The mixture according to claim 22, wherein the cement composition comprises a hydraulic cement composition.

26. The mixture according to claim 25, wherein the hydraulic cement comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of Portland cements, pozzolana cements, gypsum cements, gypsum compositions, aluminous cements, magnesia cements, silica cements, and slag cements.

27. The mixture according to claim 22, wherein the cementitious mixture comprises fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, plasticizers and/or fibers.

28. The mixture according to claim 27, wherein the fibers are selected from the group consisting of glass fibers, silicon carbide, aramid fibers, polyester, carbon fibers, composite fibers, fiberglass, combinations thereof, fabric containing said fibers, and fabric containing combinations of said fibers.

29. The mixture according to claim 22 comprising one or more materials selected from the group consisting of stone, gravel, ground granulated blast furnace slag, fly ash, glass, silica, expanded slate, clay; pumice, perlite, vermiculite, scoria, diatomite, expanded shale, expanded clay, expanded slag, fumed silica, pelletized aggregate, extruded fly ash, tuft, macrolite, slate, expanded blast furnace slag, sintered fly ash, coal cinders, and combinations thereof.

30. The mixture according to claim 22, wherein the additives are selected from the group consisting of anti-foam agents, water-proofing agents, dispersing agents, set-accelerators, set-retarders, plasticizing agents, superplasticizing agents, freezing point decreasing agents, adhesiveness-improving agents, colorants and combinations thereof.

31. The mixture according to claim 22, wherein the expanded particles are expanded polystyrene particles.

32. The mixture according to claim 31, wherein the cement composition is present at from 10 to 60 volume percent and comprises a Portland Cement; the expanded polystyrene particles are present at from 20 to 78 volume percent, the aggregates are present at from 5 to 35 volume percent, and one or more additives are present at from 0.1 to 1 volume percent.

33. A dry mixture for mixing later with water to form a concrete structure comprising: 22 to 90 volume percent of cement; 10 to 90 volume percent of expanded particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 3 mm, a bulk density of from 0.028 g/cc to 0.52 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and a continuous outer layer, 0.5 to 5 volume percent of fibers; 0 to 60 volume percent of one or more aggregates, 0 to 3 volume percent by weight of an ethylene/vinyl acetate copolymer; 0 to 3 volume percent of an anti-foam agent; 0 to 3 volume percent of a water reducer; and 0 to 3 volume percent of a plasticizer; wherein the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent; wherein after the dry mixture is mixed with a sufficient amount of water to cause the mixture to set and bind, the resulting concrete composition has a density of from 90 to about 130 lb./ft3 and a seven day compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as determined according to ASTM C39.

34. The mixture according to claim 33, wherein the cement composition comprises a hydraulic cement composition.

35. The mixture according to claim 33, wherein the hydraulic cement comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of Portland cements, pozzolana cements, gypsum cements, gypsum compositions, aluminous cements, magnesia cements, silica cements, and slag cements.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to novel compositions, materials, methods of their use and methods of their manufacture that are generally useful as agents in the construction and building trades. More specifically, the compounds of the present invention can be used in construction and building applications that benefit from a relatively lightweight, extendable, moldable, pourable, material that has high strength and often improved insulation properties.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In the field of preparation and use of lightweight cementitious materials, such as so-called lightweight concrete, the materials that have been available to the trades up until now have generally required the addition of various constituents to achieve a strong but lightweight concrete mass that has a high homogeneity of constituents and which is uniformly bonded throughout the mass.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,214,393, 3,257,338 and 3,272,765 disclose concrete mixtures that contain cement, a primary aggregate, particulate expanded styrene polymer, and a homogenizing and/or a surface-active additive.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,021,291 discloses a method of making cellular concrete by incorporating into the concrete mixture, prior to casting the mixture, a polymeric material that will expand under the influence of heat during curing. The shape and size of the polymeric particles is not critical.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,580,378 discloses a lightweight cementitious product made up of an aqueous cementitious mixture that can include fly ash, Portland cement, sand, lime and, as a weight saving component, micronized polystyrene particles having particle sizes in the range of 50 to 2000 μm and a density of about 1 lb/ft3. The mixture can be poured into molded products such as foundation walls, roof tiles, bricks and the like. The product can also be used as a mason's mortar, a plaster, a stucco or a texture.

JP 9 071 449 discloses a lightweight concrete that includes Portland cement and a lightweight aggregate such as foamed polystyrene, perlite or vermiculite as a part or all parts of the aggregate. The foamed polystyrene has a granule diameter of 0.1-10 mm and a specific gravity of 0.01-0.08.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,580,378, 5,622,556, and 5,725,652 disclose lightweight cementitious products made up of an aqueous cementitious mixture that includes cement and expanded shale, clay, slate, fly ash, and/or lime, and a weight saving component, which is micronized polystyrene particles having particle sizes in the range of 50 to 2000 μm, and characterized by having water contents in the range of from about 0.5% to 50% v/v.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,265,964 discloses lightweight compositions for structural units such as wallboard panels and the like, which contain low density expandable thermoplastic granules; a cementitious base material, such as, gypsum; a surfactant; an additive which acts as a frothing agent to incorporate an appropriate amount of air into the mixture; a film forming component; and a starch. The expandable thermoplastic granules are expanded as fully as possible.

WO 98 02 397 discloses lightweight-concrete roofing tiles made by molding a hydraulic binder composition containing synthetic resin foams as the aggregate and having a specific gravity of about 1.6 to 2.

WO 00/61519 discloses a lightweight concrete that includes a blend of from around 40% to 99% of organic polymeric material and from 1% to around 60% of an air entraining agent. The blend is used for preparing lightweight concrete that uses polystyrene aggregate. The blend is required to disperse the polystyrene aggregate and to improve the bond between the polystyrene aggregate and surrounding cementitious binder.

WO 01/66485 discloses a lightweight cementitious mixture containing by volume: 5 to 80% cement, 10 to 65% expanded polystyrene particles; 10 to 90% expanded mineral particles; and water sufficient to make a paste with a substantially even distribution of expanded polystyrene after proper mixing.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,851,235 discloses a building block that includes a mixture of water, cement, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam beads that have a diameter from 3.18 mm (⅛ inch) to 9.53 mm (⅜ inch) in the proportions of from 68 to 95 liters (18 to 25 gallons) water; from 150 to 190 kg (325 to 425 lb) cement; and from 850 to 1400 liters (30 to 50 cubic feet) Prepuff beads.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,913,791 discloses a building block that has a cement-based attachment layer on one or both exterior surfaces of the block that receives and holds a penetrating fastener such as a nail, screw, staple, or the like. One cement-based layer contains water, cement, and expanded polystyrene foam beads in first proportions and a second exterior surface contains water, cement, and expanded polystyrene foam beads in second proportions different than the first proportions.

Generally, the prior art recognizes the utility of using expanded polymers, in some form, in concrete compositions, to reduce the overall weight of the compositions. The expanded polymers are primarily added to take up space and create voids in the concrete and the amount of “air space” in the expanded polymer is typically maximized to achieve this objective. Generally, the prior art assumes that expanded polymer particles will lower the strength and/or structural integrity of lightweight concrete compositions. Further, concrete articles made from prior art lightweight concrete compositions have at best inconsistent physical properties, such as Young's modulus, thermal conductivity, and compressive strength, and typically demonstrate less than desirable physical properties.

Therefore, there is a need in the art for lightweight concrete compositions that provide lightweight concrete articles having predictable and desirable physical properties that overcome the above-described problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a lightweight concrete composition containing from 10 to 90 volume percent of a cement composition, from 10 to 90 volume percent of particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 8 mm, a bulk density of from 0.028 g/cc to 0.64 g/cc, an aspect ratio of from 1 to 3, and from 0 to 50 volume percent of aggregate where the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent; and where after the lightweight cementitious composition is set for seven days, it has a compressive strength of at least 1700 psi as tested according to ASTM C39.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a scanning electron micrograph of the surface of a prepuff bead used in the invention;

FIG. 2 is a scanning electron micrograph of the interior of a prepuff bead used in the invention;

FIG. 3 is a scanning electron micrograph of the surface of a prepuff bead used in the invention;

FIG. 4 is a scanning electron micrograph of the interior of a prepuff bead used in the invention;

FIG. 5 is a scanning electron micrograph of the surface of a prepuff bead used in the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a scanning electron micrograph of the interior of a prepuff bead used in the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Other than in the operating examples or where otherwise indicated, all numbers or expressions referring to quantities of ingredients, reaction conditions, etc. used in the specification and claims are to be understood as modified in all instances by the term “about.” Accordingly, unless indicated to the contrary, the numerical parameters set forth in the following specification and attached claims are approximations that can vary depending upon the desired properties, which the present invention desires to obtain. At the very least, and not as an attempt to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents to the scope of the claims, each numerical parameter should at least be construed in light of the number of reported significant digits and by applying ordinary rounding techniques.

Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the invention are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical values, however, inherently contain certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements.

Also, it should be understood that any numerical range recited herein is intended to include all sub-ranges subsumed therein. For example, a range of “1 to 10” is intended to include all sub-ranges between and including the recited minimum value of 1 and the recited maximum value of 10; that is, having a minimum value equal to or greater than 1 and a maximum value of equal to or less than 10. Because the disclosed numerical ranges are continuous, they include every value between the minimum and maximum values. Unless expressly indicated otherwise, the various numerical ranges specified in this application are approximations.

As used herein, the term “particles containing void spaces” refer to expanded polymer particles, prepuff particles, and other particles that include cellular and/or honeycomb-type chambers at least some of which are completely enclosed, that contain air or a specific gas or combination of gasses, as a non-limiting example prepuff particles as described herein.

As used herein the terms “cement” and “cementitious’ refer to materials that bond a concrete or other monolithic product, not the final product itself. In particular, hydraulic cement refers to a material that sets and hardens by undergoing a hydration reaction in the presence of a sufficient quantity of water to produce a final hardened product.

As used herein, the term “cementitious mixture” refers to a composition that includes a cement material, and one or more fillers, adjuvants, or other aggregates and/or materials known in the art that form a slurry that hardens upon curing. Cement materials include, but are not limited to, hydraulic cement, gypsum, gypsum compositions, lime and the like and may or may not include water. Adjuvants and fillers include, but are not limited to sand, clay, fly ash, aggregate, air entrainment agents, colorants, water reducers/superplasticizers, and the like.

As used herein, the term “concrete” refers to a hard strong building material made by mixing a cementitious mixture with sufficient water to cause the cementitious mixture to set and bind the entire mass.

As used herein, all volume and weight percentages anticipate the use of a certain volume or weight of water. The particular amounts when referring to a dry-mix or ready-mix composition would be in the same proportions anticipating that the commensurate amount of water will be added to the dry-mix or ready-mix when it is to be finally formulated, mixed and otherwise readied for use.

All compositional ranges expressed herein are limited in total to and do not exceed 100 percent (volume percent or weight percent) in practice. Where multiple components can be present in a composition, the sum of the maximum amounts of each component can exceed 100 percent, with the understanding that, and as those skilled in the art readily understand, that the amounts of the components actually used will conform to the maximum of 100 percent.

As used herein, the terms “(meth)acrylic” and “(meth)acrylate” are meant to include both acrylic and methacrylic acid derivatives, such as the corresponding alkyl esters often referred to as acrylates and (meth)acrylates, which the term “(meth)acrylate” is meant to encompass.

As used herein, the term “polymer” is meant to encompass, without limitation, homopolymers, copolymers, graft copolymers, and blends and combinations thereof.

In its broadest context, the present invention provides a method of controlling air entrainment in a formed article. The formed article can be made from any formable material, where particles containing void spaces are used to entrain air in a structurally supportive manner. Any suitable formable material can be used, so long as the particles containing void spaces are not damaged during the forming process.

As used herein, the term “composite material” refers to a solid material which includes two or more substances having different physical characteristics and in which each substance retains its identity while contributing desirable properties to the whole. As a non-limiting example, composite materials can include concrete within which prepuff beads are uniformly dispersed and embedded.

Thus, the present invention is directed to methods of controlling air entrainment where an article is formed by combining a formable material and particles containing void spaces to provide a mixture and placing the mixture in a form.

Although the application discloses in detail cementitious mixtures with polymer particles, the concepts and embodiments described herein can be applied by those skilled in the art to the other applications described above.

Embodiments of the present invention are directed to lightweight concrete (LWC) compositions that includes a cementitious mixture and polymer particles. Surprisingly, it has been found that the size, composition, structure, and physical properties of the expanded polymer particles, and in some instances their resin bead precursors, can greatly affect the physical properties of LWC articles made from the LWC compositions of the invention. Of particular note is the relationship between bead size and expanded polymer particle density on the physical properties of the resulting LWC articles.

In an embodiment of the invention, the cementitious mixture can be an aqueous cementitious mixture.

The polymer particles, which can optionally be expanded polymer particles, are present in the LWC composition at a level of at least 10, in some instances at least 15, in other instances at least 20, in particular situations up to 25, in some cases at least 30, and in other cases at least 35 volume percent and up to 90, in some cases up to 85, in other cases up to 78, in some instances up to 75, in other instance up to 65, in particular instances up to 60, in some cases up to 50, and in other cases up to 40 volume percent based on the total volume of the LWC composition. The amount of polymer will vary depending on the particular physical properties desired in a finished LWC article. The amount of polymer particles in the LWC composition can be any value or can range between any of the values recited above.

The polymer particles can include any particles derived from any suitable expandable thermoplastic material. The actual polymer particles are selected based on the particular physical properties desired in a finished LWC article. As a non-limiting example, the polymer particles, which can optionally be expanded polymer particles, can include one or more polymers selected from homopolymers of vinyl aromatic monomers; copolymers of at least one vinyl aromatic monomer with one or more of divinylbenzene, conjugated dienes, alkyl methacrylates, alkyl acrylates, acrylonitrile, and/or maleic anhydride; polyolefins; polycarbonates; polyesters; polyamides; natural rubbers; synthetic rubbers; and combinations thereof.

In an embodiment of the invention, the polymer particles include thermoplastic homopolymers or copolymers selected from homopolymers derived from vinyl aromatic monomers including styrene, isopropylstyrene, alpha-methylstyrene, nuclear methylstyrenes, chlorostyrene, tert-butylstyrene, and the like, as well as copolymers prepared by the copolymerization of at least one vinyl aromatic monomer as described above with one or more other monomers, non-limiting examples being divinylbenzene, conjugated dienes (non-limiting examples being butadiene, isoprene, 1,3- and 2,4-hexadiene), alkyl methacrylates, alkyl acrylates, acrylonitrile, and maleic anhydride, wherein the vinyl aromatic monomer is present in at least 50% by weight of the copolymer. In an embodiment of the invention, styrenic polymers are used, particularly polystyrene. However, other suitable polymers can be used, such as polyolefins (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene), polycarbonates, polyphenylene oxides, and mixtures thereof.

In a particular embodiment of the invention, the polymer particles are expandable polystyrene (EPS) particles. These particles can be in the form of beads, granules, or other particles convenient for expansion and molding operations.

In the present invention, particles polymerized in a suspension process, which are essentially spherical resin beads, are useful as polymer particles or for making expanded polymer particles. However, polymers derived from solution and bulk polymerization techniques that are extruded and cut into particle sized resin bead sections can also be used.

In an embodiment of the invention, resin beads (unexpanded) containing any of the polymers or polymer compositions described herein have a particle size of at least 0.2, in some situations at least 0.33, in some cases at least 0.35, in other cases at least 0.4, in some instances at least 0.45 and in other instances at least 0.5 mm. Also, the resin beads can have a particle size of up to 3, in some instances up to 2, in other instances up to 2.5, in some cases up to 2.25, in other cases up to 2, in some situations up to 1.5 and in other situations up to 1 mm. In this embodiment, the physical properties of LWC articles made according to the invention have inconsistent or undesirable physical properties when resin beads having particle sizes outside of the above described ranges are used to make the expanded polymer particles. The resin beads used in this embodiment can be any value or can range between any of the values recited above.

The expandable thermoplastic particles or resin beads can optionally be impregnated using any conventional method with a suitable blowing agent. As a non-limiting example, the impregnation can be achieved by adding the blowing agent to the aqueous suspension during the polymerization of the polymer, or alternatively by re-suspending the polymer particles in an aqueous medium and then incorporating the blowing agent as taught in U.S. Pat. No. 2,983,692. Any gaseous material or material which will produce gases on heating can be used as the blowing agent. Conventional blowing agents include aliphatic hydrocarbons containing 4 to 6 carbon atoms in the molecule, such as butanes, pentanes, hexanes, and the halogenated hydrocarbons, e.g. CFC's and HCFC'S, which boil at a temperature below the softening point of the polymer chosen. Mixtures of these aliphatic hydrocarbon blowing agents can also be used.

Alternatively, water can be blended with these aliphatic hydrocarbons blowing agents or water can be used as the sole blowing agent as taught in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,127,439; 6,160,027; and 6,242,540 in these patents, water-retaining agents are used. The weight percentage of water for use as the blowing agent can range from 1 to 20%. The texts of U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,127,439, 6,160,027 and 6,242,540 are incorporated herein by reference.

The impregnated polymer particles or resin beads are optionally expanded to a bulk density of at least 1.75 lb/ft3 (0.028 g/cc), in some circumstances at least 2 lb/ft3 (0.032 g/cc) in other circumstances at least 3 lb/ft3 (0.048 g/cc) and in particular circumstances at least 3.25 lb/ft3 (0.052 g/cc) or 3.5 lb/ft3 (0.056 g/cc). When non-expanded resin beads are used higher bulk density beads can be used. As such, the bulk density can be as high as 40 lb/ft3 (0.64 g/cc). In other situations, the polymer particles are at least partially expanded and the bulk density can be up to 35 lb/ft3 (0.56 g/cc), in some cases up to 30 lb/ft3 (0.48 g/cc), in other cases up to 25 lb/ft3 (0.4 g/cc), in some instances up to 20 lb/ft3 (0.32 g/cc), in other instances up to 15 lb/ft3 (0.24 g/cc) and in certain circumstances up to 10 lb/ft3 (0.16 g/cc). The bulk density of the polymer particles can be any value or range between any of the values recited above. The bulk density of the polymer particles, resin beads and/or prepuff particles is determined by weighing a known volume of polymer particles, beads and/or prepuff particles (aged 24 hours at ambient conditions).

The expansion step is conventionally carried out by heating the impregnated beads via any conventional heating medium, such as steam, hot air, hot water, or radiant heat. One generally accepted method for accomplishing the pre-expansion of impregnated thermoplastic particles is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 3,023,175.

The impregnated polymer particles can be foamed cellular polymer particles as taught in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/021,716, the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference. The foamed cellular particles can be polystyrene that are expanded and contain a volatile blowing agent at a level of less than 14 wt %, in some situations less than 6 wt %, in some cases ranging from about 2 wt % to about 5 wt %, and in other cases ranging from about 2.5 wt % to about 3.5 wt % based on the weight of the polymer.

An interpolymer of a polyolefin and in situ polymerized vinyl aromatic monomers that can be included in the expanded thermoplastic resin or polymer particles according to the invention is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,303,756 and 4,303,757 and U.S. Application Publication 2004/0152795, the relevant portions of which are herein incorporated by reference.

The polymer particles can include customary ingredients and additives, such as flame retardants, pigments, dyes, colorants, plasticizers, mold release agents, stabilizers, ultraviolet light absorbers, mold prevention agents, antioxidants, rodenticides, insect repellants, and so on. Typical pigments include, without limitation, inorganic pigments such as carbon black, graphite, expandable graphite, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide, as well as organic pigments such as quinacridone reds and violets and copper phthalocyanine blues and greens.

In a particular embodiment of the invention the pigment is carbon black, a non-limiting example of such a material being EPS SILVER®, available from NOVA Chemicals Inc.

In another particular embodiment of the invention the pigment is graphite, a non-limiting example of such a material being NEOPOR®, available from BASF Aktiengesellschaft Corp., Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany.

When materials such as carbon black and/or graphite are included in the polymer particles, improved insulating properties, as exemplified by higher R values for materials containing carbon black or graphite (as determined using ASTM-C518), are provided. As such, the R value of the expanded polymer particles containing carbon black and/or graphite or materials made from such polymer particles are at least 5% higher than observed for particles or resulting articles that do not contain carbon black and/or graphite.

The expanded polymer particles or prepuff particles can have an average particle size of at least 0.2, in some circumstances at least 0.3, in other circumstances at least 0.5, in some cases at least 0.75, in other cases at least 0.9 and in some instances at least 1 mm and can be up to 8, in some circumstances up to 6, in other circumstances up to 5, in some cases up to 4, in other cases up to 3, and in some instances up to 2.5 mm. When the size of the expanded polymer particles or prepuff particles are too small or too large, the physical properties of LWC articles made using the present LWC composition can be undesirable. The average particle size of the expanded polymer particles or prepuff particles can be any value and can range between any of the values recited above. The average particle size of the expanded polymer particles or prepuff particles can be determined using laser diffraction techniques or by screening according to mesh size using mechanical separation methods well known in the art.

In an embodiment of the invention, the polymer particles or expanded polymer particles have a minimum average cell wall thickness, which helps to provide desirable physical properties to LWC articles made using the present LWC composition. The average cell wall thickness and inner cellular dimensions can be determined using scanning electron microscopy techniques known in the art. The expanded polymer particles can have an average cell wall thickness of at least 0.15 μm, in some cases at least 0.2 μm and in other cases at least 0.25 μm. Not wishing to be bound to any particular theory, it is believed that a desirable average cell wall thickness results when resin beads having the above-described dimensions are expanded to the above-described densities.

In an embodiment of the invention, the polymer beads are optionally expanded to form the expanded polymer particles such that a desirable cell wall thickness as described above is achieved. Though many variables can impact the wall thickness, it is desirable, in this embodiment, to limit the expansion of the polymer bead so as to achieve a desired wall thickness and resulting expanded polymer particle strength. Optimizing processing steps and blowing agents can expand the polymer beads to a minimum of 1.75 lb/ft3 (0.028 g/cc). This property of the expanded polymer bulk density, can be described by pcf (lb/ft3) or by an expansion factor (cc/g).

As used herein, the term “expansion factor” refers to the volume a given weight of expanded polymer bead occupies, typically expressed as cc/g.

In order to provide expanded polymer particles with desirable cell wall thickness and strength, the expanded polymer particles are not expanded to their maximum expansion factor; as such an extreme expansion yields particles with undesirably thin cell walls and insufficient strength. Further, the polymer beads can be expanded at least 5%, in some cases at least 10%, and in other cases at least 15% of their maximum expansion factor. However, so as not to cause the cell wall thickness to be too thin, the polymer beads are expanded up to 80%, in some cases up to 75%, in other cases up to 70%, in some instances up to 65%, in other instances up to 60%, in some circumstances up to 55%, and in other circumstances up to 50% of their maximum expansion factor. The polymer beads can be expanded to any degree indicated above or the expansion can range between any of the values recited above. Typically, the polymer beads or prepuff particles do not further expand when formulated into the present cementitious compositions and do not further expand while the cementitious compositions set, cure and/or harden.

As used herein, the term “prepuff” refers to an expandable particle, resin and/or bead that has been expanded, but has not been expanded to its maximum expansion factor.

The prepuff or expanded polymer particles typically have a cellular structure or honeycomb interior portion and a generally smooth continuous polymeric surface as an outer surface, i.e., a substantially continuous outer layer. The smooth continuous surface can be observed using scanning electron microscope (SEM) techniques at 1000× magnification. SEM observations do not indicate the presence of holes in the outer surface of the prepuff or expanded polymer particles, as shown in FIGS. 1,3 and 5. Cutting sections of the prepuff or expanded polymer particles and taking SEM observations reveals the generally honeycomb structure of the interior of the prepuff or expanded polymer particles, as shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6.

The polymer particles or expanded polymer particles can have any cross-sectional shape that allows for providing desirable physical properties in LWC articles. In an embodiment of the invention, the expanded polymer particles have a circular, oval or elliptical cross-section shape. In embodiments of the invention, the prepuff or expanded polymer particles have an aspect ratio of 1, in some cases at least 1 and the aspect ratio can be up to 3, in some cases up to 2 and in other cases up to 1.5. The aspect ratio of the prepuff or expanded polymer particles can be any value or range between any of the values recited above.

The cementitious mixture is present in the LWC composition at a level of at least 10, in some instances at least 15, in other instances at least 22, in some cases at least 40 and in other cases at least 50 volume percent and can be present at a level of up to 90, in some circumstances up to 85, in other circumstances up to 80, in particular cases up to 75, in some cases up to 70, in other cases up to 65, and in some instances up to 60 volume percent of the LWC composition. The cementitious mixture can be present in the LWC composition at any level stated above and can range between any of the levels stated above.

In an embodiment of the invention, the cementitious mixture includes a hydraulic cement composition. The hydraulic cement composition can be present at a level of at least 3, in certain situations at least 5, in some cases at least 7.5, and in other cases at least 9 volume percent and can be present at levels up to 40, in some cases up to 35, in other cases up to 32.5, and in some instances up to 30 volume percent of the cementitious mixture. The cementitious mixture can include the hydraulic cement composition at any of the above-stated levels or at levels ranging between any of levels stated above.

In a particular embodiment of the invention, the hydraulic cement composition can be one or more materials selected from Portland cements, pozzolana cements, gypsum cements, aluminous cements, magnesia cements, silica cements, and slag cements. In a particular embodiment of the invention the cement composition is type III Portland cement.

In an embodiment of the invention, the cementitious mixture can optionally include other aggregates and adjuvants known in the art including but not limited to sand, additional aggregate, plasticizers and/or fibers. Suitable fibers include, but are not limited to glass fibers, silicon carbide, aramid fibers, polyester, carbon fibers, composite fibers, fiberglass, and combinations thereof as well as fabric containing the above-mentioned fibers, and fabric containing combinations of the above-mentioned fibers.

Non-limiting examples of fibers that can be used in the invention include MeC-GRID® and C-GRID® available from TechFab, LLC, Anderson, S.C., KEVLAR® available from E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington Del., TWARON® available from Teijin Twaron B.V., Arnheim, the Netherlands, SPECTRA® available from Honeywell International Inc., Morristown, N.J., DACRON® available from Invista North America S.A.R.L. Corp. Willmington, Del., and VECTRAN® available from Hoechst Cellanese Corp., New York, N.Y. The fibers can be used in a mesh structure, intertwined, interwoven, and oriented in any desirable direction.

In a particular embodiment of the invention fibers can make up at least 0.1, in some cases at least 0.5, in other cases at least 1, and in some instances at least 2 volume percent of the LWC composition. Further, fibers can provide up to 10, in some cases up to 8, in other cases up to 7, and in some instances up to 5 volume percent of the LWC composition. The amount of fibers is adjusted to provide desired properties to the LWC composition. The amount of fibers can be any value or range between any of the values recited above.

Further to this embodiment, the additional aggregate can include, but is not limited to, one or more materials selected from common aggregates such as sand, stone, and gravel. Common lightweight aggregates can include ground granulated blast furnace slag, fly ash, glass, silica, expanded slate and clay; insulating aggregates such as pumice, perlite, vermiculite, scoria, and diatomite; LWC aggregate such as expanded shale, expanded slate, expanded clay, expanded slag, fumed silica, pelletized aggregate, extruded fly ash, tuff, and macrolite; and masonry aggregate such as expanded shale, clay, slate, expanded blast furnace slag, sintered fly ash, coal cinders, pumice, scoria, and pelletized aggregate.

When included, the other aggregates and adjuvants are present in the cementitious mixture at a level of at least 0.5, in some cases at least 1, in other cases at least 2.5, in some instances at least 5 and in other instances at least 10 volume percent of the cementitious mixture. Also, the other aggregates and adjuvants can be present at a level of up to 95, in some cases up to 90, in other cases up to 85, in some instances up to 65 and in other instances up to 60 volume percent of the cementitious mixture. The other aggregates and adjuvants can be present in the cementitious mixture at any of the levels indicated above or can range between any of the levels indicated above.

In an embodiment of the invention, all or a portion of the sand or other fine aggregate used in the present cementitious mixture and/or lightweight concrete composition has a fineness modulus of less than 2, in some cases less than 1.9 and in other cases less than 1.8. As used herein, “fineness modulus” or “FM” refers to an empirical factor that gives a relative measure of the proportions of fine and coarse particles in an aggregate. FM is a value used to indicate the relative fineness or coarseness of a fine aggregate and can be determined according to ASTM C 117. Although ASTM C 117 can be consulted for precise details, and is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety, it can be summarized as follows. The FM is obtained by sieving a 500-gram sample of sand through a series of standard sieves (Nos. 4, 8, 16, 30, 50, and 100). The weight retained on each sieve is converted into a cumulative percentage retained, starting with the No. 4 sieve. The sum of the six percentages are divided by 100. The resulting answer is the fineness modulus.

In a particular embodiment of the invention sand and/or other fine aggregate can make up at least 10, in some cases at least 15, in other cases at least 20 volume percent of the LWC composition. Further, sand and/or other fine aggregate can provide up to 50, in some cases up to 45, in other cases up to 40, and in some instances up to 35 volume percent of the LWC composition. The amount of sand and/or other fine aggregate is adjusted to provide desired properties to the LWC composition. The amount of sand and/or other fine aggregate can be any value or range between any of the values recited above.

In a particular embodiment of the invention coarse aggregate (aggregate having an FM value of greater than 4) can make up at least 1, in some cases at least 2, and in other cases at least 3 volume percent of the LWC composition. Further, coarse aggregate can provide up to 20, in some cases up to 15, in other cases up to 10, and in some instances up to 8 volume percent of the LWC composition. The amount of coarse aggregate is adjusted to provide desired properties to the LWC composition. The amount of coarse aggregate sand can be any value or range between any of the values recited above.

In embodiments of the invention, the lightweight concrete compositions can contain one or more additives, non-limiting examples of such being anti-foam agents, water-proofing agents, dispersing agents, set-accelerators, set-retarders, plasticizing agents, superplasticizing agents, freezing point decreasing agents, adhesiveness-improving agents, and colorants. The additives are typically present at less than one percent by weight with respect to total weight of the composition, but can be present at from 0.1 to 3 weight percent.

Suitable dispersing agents or plasticizers that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to hexametaphosphate, tripolyphosphate, polynaphthalene sulphonate, sulphonated polyamine and combinations thereof.

Suitable plasticizing agents that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to polyhydroxycarboxylic acids or salts thereof, polycarboxylates or salts thereof; lignosulfonates, polyethylene glycols, and combinations thereof.

Suitable superplasticizing agents that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to alkaline or earth alkaline metal salts of lignin sulfonates; lignosulfonates, alkaline or earth alkaline metal salts of highly condensed naphthalene sulfonic acid/formaldehyde condensates; polynaphthalene sulfonates, alkaline or earth alkaline metal salts of one or more polycarboxylates (such as poly(meth)acrylates and the polycarboxylate comb copolymers described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,800,129, the relevant portions of which are herein incorporated by reference); alkaline or earth alkaline metal salts of melamine/formaldehyde/sulfite condensates; sulfonic acid esters; carbohydrate esters; and combinations thereof.

Suitable set-accelerators that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to soluble chloride salts (such as calcium chloride), triethanolamine, paraformaldehyde, soluble formate salts (such as calcium formate), sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, 12CaO.7Al2O3, sodium sulfate, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, the alkali metal nitrate/sulfonated aromatic hydrocarbon aliphatic aldehyde condensates disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,026,723, the water soluble surfactant accelerators disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,298,394, the methylol derivatives of amino acids accelerators disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,211,751, and the mixtures of thiocyanic acid salts, alkanolamines, and nitric acid salts disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. Re. 35,194, the relevant portions of which are herein incorporated by reference, and combinations thereof.

Suitable set-retarders that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to lignosulfonates, hydroxycarboxylic acids (such as gluconic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, salicylic acid, glucoheptonic acid, arabonic acid, acid, and inorganic or organic salts thereof such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, ammonium and triethanolamine salt), cardonic acid, sugars, modified sugars, phosphates, borates, silico-fluorides, calcium bromate, calcium sulfate, sodium sulfate, monosaccharides such as glucose, fructose, galactose, saccharose, xylose, apiose, ribose and invert sugar, oligosaccharides such as disaccharides and trisaccharides, such oligosaccharides as dextrin, polysaccharides such as dextran, and other saccharides such as molasses containing these; sugar alcohols such as sorbitol; magnesium silicofluoride; phosphoric acid and salts thereof, or borate esters; aminocarboxylic acids and salts thereof; alkali-soluble proteins; humic acid; tannic acid; phenols; polyhydric alcohols such as glycerol; phosphonic acids and derivatives thereof, such as aminotri(methylenephosphonic acid), 1-hydroxyethylidene-1,1-diphosphonic acid, ethylenediaminetetra(methylenephosphonic acid), diethylenetriaminepenta(methylenephosphonic acid), and alkali metal or alkaline earth metal salts thereof, and combinations of the set-retarders indicated above.

Suitable defoaming agents that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to silicone-based defoaming agents (such as dimethylpolysiloxane, diemthylsilicone oil, silicone paste, silicone emulsions, organic group-modified polysiloxanes (polyorganosiloxanes such as dimethylpolysiloxane), fluorosilicone oils, etc.), alkyl phosphates (such as tributyl phosphate, sodium octylphosphate, etc.), mineral oil-based defoaming agents (such as kerosene, liquid paraffin, etc.), fat- or oil-based defoaming agents (such as animal or vegetable oils, sesame oil, castor oil, alkylene oxide adducts derived therefrom, etc.), fatty acid-based defoaming agents (such as oleic acid, stearic acid, and alkylene oxide adducts derived therefrom, etc.), fatty acid ester-based defoaming agents (such as glycerol monoricinolate, alkenylsuccinic acid derivatives, sorbitol monolaurate, sorbitol trioleate, natural waxes, etc.), oxyalkylene type defoaming agents, alcohol-based defoaming agents: octyl alcohol, hexadecyl alcohol, acetylene alcohols, glycols, etc.), amide-based defoaming agents (such as acrylate polyamines, etc.), metal salt-based defoaming agents (such as aluminum stearate, calcium oleate, etc.) and combinations of the above-described defoaming agents.

Suitable freezing point decreasing agents that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to ethyl alcohol, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and combinations thereof.

Suitable adhesiveness-improving agents that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to polyvinyl acetate, styrene-butadiene, homopolymers and copolymers of (meth)acrylate esters, and combinations thereof.

Suitable water-repellent or water-proofing agents that can be used in the invention include, but are not limited to fatty acids (such as stearic acid or oleic acid), lower alkyl fatty acid esters (such as butyl stearate), fatty acid salts (such as calcium or aluminum stearate), silicones, wax emulsions, hydrocarbon resins, bitumen, fats and oils, silicones, paraffins, asphalt, waxes, and combinations thereof. Although not used in many embodiments of the invention, when used suitable air-entraining agents include, but are not limited to vinsol resins, sodium abietate, fatty acids and salts thereof, tensides, alkyl-aryl-sulfonates, phenol ethoxylates, lignosulfonates, and mixtures thereof.

The cementitious mixture, expanded polymer particles, and any other aggregates, additives and/or adjuvants are mixed using methods well known in the art. In an embodiment of the invention a liquid, in some instances water, is also mixed into the other ingredients.

In an embodiment of the invention, a dry mixture (i.e., containing minimal or no added water) can be produced, packaged and stored for future use. Such a dry mixture or “ready mix” can later be mixed with water to provide the lightweight concrete compositions described herein.

In an embodiment of the invention, the concrete composition is a dispersion where the cementitious mixture provides, at least in part, a continuous phase and the polymer particles and/or expanded polymer particles exist as a dispersed phase of discrete particles in the continuous phase.

As a particular and non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the concrete composition is substantially free of wetting agents or dispersing agents used to stabilize the dispersion.

As a non-limiting embodiment of the invention and as not wishing to be limited to any single theory, some factors that can affect the performance of the present LWC composition include the volume fraction of the expanded resin bead, the average expanded bead size and the microstructure created by the inter-bead spacing within the concrete. In this embodiment, the inter-bead spacing can be estimated using a two-dimensional model. For simplicity in description, the inter-bead spacing can be limited to the bead radius. Additionally, and without meaning to limit the invention in any way, it is assumed in this embodiment that the beads are arranged in a cubic lattice, bead size distribution in the LWC composition is not considered, and the distribution of expanded bead area in the cross-section is not considered. In order to calculate the number of beads per sample, a three-dimensional test cylinder is assumed.

The smaller the expanded bead size, the greater the number of expanded beads required to maintain the same expanded bead volume fraction as described by equation 1 below. As the number of expanded beads increases exponentially, the spacing between the expanded beads decreases.
Nb=K/B3 (1)
Nb represents the number of expanded beads.

A LWC test specimen with diameter D and height H (usually 2″×4″ or 6″×12″), containing dispersed expanded polymer beads of average expanded bead diameter B, and a given volume fraction Vd contains an amount of expanded polymer beads Nb given by equation 1:

Note that Nb is inversely proportional to the cube of the expanded polymer bead diameter. The constant of proportionality, K=1.5 VdHD2, is a number that is dependent only on the sample size and the volume fraction of expanded polymer beads. Thus for a given sample size, and known expanded polymer bead volume fraction, the number of beads increases to a third power as the bead diameter decreases.

As a non-limiting example, for a 2″×4″ LWC specimen, at 90 pcf (lb/ft3) (corresponding to expanded polymer bead 43% volume fraction with pre-puff bulk density of 1.25 pcf), the number of beads increases fourfold and sevenfold moving from a 0.65 mm bead to 0.4 mm and 0.33 mm beads respectively. At 2.08 pcf, the increase in the number of beads is sixfold and sevenfold for 0.4 mm and 0.33 mm beads respectively. At 5 pcf, the increases are twofold and threefold respectively. Thus, the density correlates to the bead size. As shown below, the density also affects the cell wall thickness. The strength of a concrete matrix populated by expanded beads is typically affected by the cell wall stiffness and thickness.

In an embodiment of the invention, where monodisperse spherical cells are assumed, it can be shown that the mean cell diameter d is related to the mean wall thickness 6 by equation 2:

d=δ/(11-ρ/ρs-1)(2)
where ρis the density of the foam and ρs, is the density of the solid polymer bead.

Thus for a given polymer, depending on the particular expansion process used, one can obtain the same cell wall thickness (at a given cell size) or the same cell size at various values of δ. The density is controlled not only by the cell size but also by varying the thickness of the cell wall.

The table below exemplifies the variation of expanded polymer bead density with bead size for three classes of beads.

Foam ParticleExpansionAverage Number of
Bead Size,DensitySizefactorbeads for 43% volume
microns(pcf)(mm)(cc/g)fraction
6502.001.7643196,768
6503.001.54121145,152
6504.001.40016193,536
4002.001.08631415,233
4003.000.94921622,849
4004.000.86216830,466
3302.000.89631739,486
3303.000.783211,109,229
3304.000.711161,478,972

Desirable microstructures and/or morphologies can fall into distinct classes. The first is a bicontinous or co-continuous composite with special interfaces and the second includes special inclusions in a connected matrix. The effective properties of both bicontinous and singly connected microstructures are described by known optimal cross-property bounds.

In many cases, the smaller the beads, the greater the number of beads required to maintain the same expanded polymer bead volume fraction as described by equation 1. As the number of beads increases exponentially, the spacing between the beads decreases.

The optimal bounds can be described by a number of relations representing critical numbers or limits. As a non-limiting example, for a given volume fraction, there is often a critical bead size corresponding to a critical number of beads that can be dispersed to provide a desired morphology such that all the beads are isolated and the concrete is singly connected. It is also possible to form a morphology where all of the beads are non-isolated but contacting.

Finite element analysis of a 2-dimensional cross section was performed using ANSYS® (a finite element analysis program available from ANSYS Inc., Canonsburg, Pa.). In the finite element mesh of the cross-section, the beads are modeled as non-contacting or isolated circles in a singly connected concrete matrix.

The results demonstrate that under loading, the stresses build up in a direction perpendicular to the load axis. The maximum stress concentrations are at the horizontal boundary between the expanded polymer beads, which tend to be deformed from a circular shape to an elliptical shape.

In a particular embodiment of the invention, the concrete composition contains at least some of the expanded polymer particles or prepuff particles arranged in a cubic or hexagonal lattice.

In an embodiment of the invention, the present LWC composition is substantially free of air entraining agents, which are typically added to create air cells or voids in a batch of concrete.

In another embodiment of the invention, the LWC composition can include reinforcement fibers. Such fibers act as reinforcing components, having a large aspect ratio, that is, their length/diameter ratio is high, so that a load is transferred across potential points of fracture. Non-limiting examples of suitable fibers include fiberglass strands of approximately one to one and three fourths inches in length, although any material can be used that has a higher Young's modulus than the matrix of the cementitious mixture, polypropylene fiber and other fibers as described above.

The LWC compositions according to the invention can be set and/or hardened to form final concrete articles using methods well known in the art.

The density of the set and/or hardened final concrete articles containing the LWC composition of the invention can be at least 40 lb/ft3 (0.64 g/cc), in some cases at least 45 lb/ft3 (0.72 g/cc) and in other cases at least 50 lb/ft3 (0.8 g/cc) lb/ft3 and the density can be up to 130 lb/ft3 (2.1 g/cc), in some cases 120 lb/ft3 (1.9 g/cc), in other cases up to 115 lb/ft3 (1.8 g/cc), in some circumstances up to 110 lb/ft3 (1.75 g/cc), in other circumstances up to 105 lb/ft3 (1.7 g/cc), in some instances up to 100 lb/ft3 (1.6 g/cc), and in other instances up to 95 lb/ft3 (1.5 g/cc). The density of the present concrete articles can be any value and can range between any of the values recited above. The density of the LWC composition is determined according to ASTM C 138.

In a particular embodiment of the invention, the LWC composition contains containing from 10 to 60 volume percent of a cement composition that includes type III Portland Cement; from 20 to 78 volume percent of expanded polymer particles having an average particle diameter of from 0.2 mm to 5 mm, a bulk density of from 0.032 g/cc to 0.56 g/cc, and an aspect ratio of from 1 to 2; from 5 to 35 volume percent of one or more aggregates; and from 0.1 to 1 volume percent of one or more additives selected from anti-foam agents, water-proofing agents, dispersing agents, set-accelerators, set-retarders, plasticizing agents, superplasticizing agents, freezing point decreasing agents, adhesiveness-improving agents, colorants and combinations thereof; where the sum of components used does not exceed 100 volume percent and where after the lightweight cementitious composition is set, it has a compressive strength of at least 2000 psi as tested according to ASTM C39 after seven days.

The LWC compositions can be used in most, if not all, applications where traditional concrete formulations are used. As non-limiting examples, the present LWC compositions can be used in structural and architectural applications, non-limiting examples being party walls, ICF or SIP structures, bird baths, benches, shingles, siding, drywall, cement board, decorative pillars or archways for buildings, etc., furniture or household applications such as counter tops, in-floor radiant heating systems, floors (primary and secondary), tilt-up walls, sandwich wall panels, as a stucco coating, road and airport safety applications such as arresting walls, Jersey Barriers, sound barriers and walls, retaining walls, runway arresting systems, air entrained concrete, runaway truck ramps, flowable excavatable backfill, and road construction applications such as road bed material and bridge deck material.

Additionally, LWC articles according to the invention readily accept direct attachment of screws, as a non-limiting example drywall screws and nails, which can be attached by traditional, pneumatic, or powder actuated devices. This allows easy attachment of materials such as plywood, drywall, studs and other materials commonly used in the construction industry, which cannot be done using traditional concrete formulations.

When the LWC compositions of the invention are used in road bed construction, the polymer particles can aid in preventing and or minimizing crack propagation, especially when water freeze-thaw is involved.

In an embodiment of the invention, the set and/or hardened LWC compositions according to the invention are used in structural applications and can have a minimum compressive strength for load bearing masonry structural applications of at least 1700 psi (119.5 kgf/cm2), in other cases at least 1800 psi (126.5 kgf/cm2), in some instances at least 1900 psi, and in other instances at least 2000 psi (140.6 kgf/cm2). For structural lightweight concrete the compositions can have a minimum compressive strength of at least 2500 psi (175.8 kgf/cm2). Compressive strengths are determined according to ASTM C39 at seven days.

Although ASTM C39 can be consulted for precise details, and is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety, it can be summarized as providing a test method that consists of applying a compressive axial load to molded cylinders or cores at a rate which is within a prescribed range until failure occurs. The testing machine is equipped with two steel bearing blocks with hardened faces, one which is a spherically seated block that will bear on the upper surface of the specimen, and the other a solid block on which the specimen rests. The load is applied at a rate of movement (platen to crosshead measurement) corresponding to a stress rate on the specimen of 35±7 psi/s (0.25±0.05 Mpa/s). The compressive load is applied until the load indicator shows that the load is decreasing steadily and the specimen displays a well-defined fracture pattern. The compressive strength is calculated by dividing the maximum load carried by the specimen during the test by the cross-sectional area of the specimen.

The compositions of the invention are well suited to the fabrication of molded construction articles and materials, non-limiting examples of such include wall panels including tilt-up wall panels, T beams, double T beams, roofing tiles, roof panels, ceiling panels, floor panels, I beams, foundation walls and the like. The compositions exhibit greater strength than prior art LWC compositions.

In an embodiment of the invention, the molded construction articles and materials can be pre-cast and/or pre-stressed.

As used herein, “pre-cast” concrete refers to concrete poured into a mold or cast of a required shape and allowed to cure and/or harden before being taken out and put into a desired position.

As used herein, “pre-stressed” concrete refers to concrete whose tension has been improved by using prestressing tendons (in many cases high tensile steel cable or rods), which are used to provide a clamping load producing a compressive strength that offsets the tensile stress that the concrete member would otherwise experience due to a bending load. Any suitable method known in the art can be used to pre-stress concrete. Suitable methods include, but are not limited to Pre-tensioned concrete, where concrete is cast around already tensioned tendons, and post-tensioned concrete, where compression is applied after the pouring and curing processes.

A particular advantage that the present invention provides is that the set concrete composition and/or molded construction articles formed from such compositions can be readily cut and/or sectioned using conventional methods as opposed to having to use specialized concrete or diamond tipped cutting blades and/or saws. This provides substantial time and cost savings when customizing concrete articles.

The compositions can be readily cast into molds according to methods well known to those of skill in the art for, as non-limiting examples, roofing tiles, paver, or other articles in virtually any three dimensional configuration desired, including configurations having certain topical textures such as having the appearance of wooden shakes, slate shingles or smooth faced ceramic tiles. A typical shingle can have approximate dimensions of ten inches in width by seventeen inches in length by one and three quarters inches in thickness. In the molding of roofing materials, the addition of an air entrainment agent makes the final product more weatherproof in terms of resistance to freeze/thaw degradation.

When foundation walls are poured using the LWC compositions of the invention, the walls can be taken above grade due to the lighter weight. Ordinarily, the lower part of the foundation wall has a tendency to blow outwards under the sheer weight of the concrete mixture, but the lighter weight of the compositions of the invention tend to lessen the chances of this happening. Foundation walls prepared using the present LWC compositions can readily take conventional fasteners used in conventional foundation wall construction.

In an embodiment of the invention, the concrete compositions according to the invention are formed, set and/or hardened in the form of a concrete masonry unit. As used herein, the term “concrete masonry unit” refers to a hollow or solid concrete article including, but not limited to scored, split face, ribbed, fluted, ground face, slumped and paving stone varieties. Embodiments of the invention provide walls that include, at least in part, concrete masonry units made according to the invention.

In an embodiment of the invention, the molded construction articles and materials and concrete masonry units described above are capable of receiving and holding penetrating fasteners, non-limiting examples of such include nails, screws, staples and the like. This can be beneficial in that surface coverings can be attached directly to the molded construction articles and materials and concrete masonry units molded construction articles and materials and concrete masonry units.

In an embodiment of the invention, a standard 2½ inch drywall screw can be screwed into a poured and set surface containing the present light weight concrete composition, to a depth of 1½ inches, and is not removed when a force of at least 500, in some cases at least 600 and in other cases at least 700 and up to 800 pounds of force is applied perpendicular to the surface screwed into for one, in some cases five and in other cases ten minutes.

The present invention is also directed to buildings that include the LWC compositions according to the invention.

The present invention also provides a method of making an optimized lightweight concrete article that includes:

    • identifying the desired density and strength properties of a set lightweight concrete composition;
    • determining the type, size and density of polymer beads to be expanded for use in the light weight concrete composition;
    • determining the size and density the polymer beads are to be expanded to;
    • expanding the polymer beads to form expanded polymer beads;
    • dispersing the expanded polymer beads in a cementitious mixture to form the light weight concrete composition; and
    • allowing the light weight concrete composition to set in a desired form.

The desired density and strength properties of the set and/or hardened LWC composition are determined based on the intended application.

In an embodiment of the invention, the type, size and density of polymer beads to be expanded and the size and density the polymer beads are to be expanded to can be determined based on empirical and/or published data.

In another embodiment of the invention finite element analysis can be used to determine the type, size and density of polymer beads to be expanded and the size and density the polymer beads are to be expanded to.

The resulting lightweight concrete composition is allowed to set and/or harden to provide LWC articles and concrete masonry units as described above.

The present invention will further be described by reference to the following examples. The following examples are merely illustrative of the invention and are not intended to be limiting. Unless otherwise indicated, all percentages are by weight and Portland cement is used unless otherwise specified.

EXAMPLES

Unless otherwise indicated, the following materials were utilized:

    • Type III Portland Cement
    • Mason Sand (165 pcf bulk density, 2.64 specific gravity, fineness modulus=1.74)
    • Potable Water—ambient temperature (˜70° F./21° C.)
    • Expandable Polystyrene—M97BC, F271C, F271M, F271T (NOVA Chemicals Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.)
    • EPS Resin—1037C(NOVA Chemicals, Inc.)
    • ½ inch Expanded Slate (Carolina Stalite Company, Salisbury, N.C.—89.5 pcf bulk density/1.43 specific gravity)

Unless otherwise indicated, all compositions were prepared under laboratory conditions using a model 42N-5 blender (Charles Ross & Son Company, Hauppauge, N.Y.) having a 7-ft3 working capacity body with a single shaft paddle. The mixer was operated at 34 rpm. Conditioning was performed in a LH-10 Temperture and Humidity Chamber (manufactured by Associated Environmental Systems, Ayer, Mass.). Samples were molded in 6″×12″ single use plastic cylinder molds with flat caps and were tested in triplicate. Compression testing was performed on a Formey FX250/300 Compression Tester (Formey Incorporated, Hermitage, Pa.), which hydraulically applies a vertical load at a desired rate. All other peripheral materials (slump cone, tamping rods, etc.) adhered to the applicable ASTM test method. The following ASTM test methods and procedures were followed:

    • ASTM C470—Standard Specification for Molds for Forming Concrete Test Cylinders Vertically
    • ASTM C192—Standard Practice for Making and Curing Concrete Test Specimens in the Laboratory
    • ASTM C330—Standard Specification for Lightweight Aggregates for Structural Concrete
    • ASTM C511—Standard Specification for Mixing Rooms, Moist Cabinets, Moist Rooms, and Water Storage Tanks Used in the Testing of Hydraulic Cements and Concretes
    • ASTM C143—Standard Test Method for Slump of Hydraulic-Cement Concrete
    • ASTM C1231—Standard Practice for Use of Unbonded Caps in Determination of Compressive Strength of Hardened Concrete
      Cylinders
    • ASTM C39—Standard Test Method for Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens Cylinders were kept capped and at ambient laboratory conditions for 24 hours. All cylinders were then aged for an additional 6 days at 23±2° C., 95% relative humidity. The test specimens were then tested.

Example 1

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (M97BC—0.65 mm, F271T—0.4 mm, and F271 M—0.33 mm) was pre-expanded into EPS foam (prepuff) particles of varying densities as shown in the table below.

Prepuff Particle
BeadBulk
BeadMean Size,Density,Standard deviation,
Typeμmlb/ft3Mean Size, μmμm
F271M3302.32902144
F271M3303.1082480
F271M3304.19725103
F271T4002.401027176
F271T4003.691054137
F271T4004.57851141
M97BC6502.541705704
M97BC6503.291474587
M97BC6505.271487584

The data show that the prepuff particle size varies inversely with the expanded density of the material.

Example 2

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (0.65 mm, 0.4 mm, and 0.33 mm) was pre-expanded into prepuff particles with a bulk density of 2 lb/ft3 as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into a LWC composition, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, that included 46.5 wt. % (25.3 vol. %) Portland cement, 16.3 wt. % (26.3 vol. %) water, and 1.2 wt. % (26.4 vol. %) prepuff particles. The resulting LWC compositions had a concrete density of 90 lb/ft2. The average compressive strength (determined according to ASTM C39, seven day break test) is shown in the table below.

Prepuff ParticleConcrete
BeadBulk Density, Density,Compressive
Mean Size, μmlb/ft3lb/ft3Strength, psi
6502.00901405
4002.00901812
3302.00901521

The data show that as the mean unexpanded bead size decreases, at a constant prepuff particle density, that surprisingly higher compressive strength does not necessarily result from ever decreasing unexpanded bead size as suggested in the prior art. More particularly, the data show that an optimum unexpanded bead size with respect to compressive strength at 2.00 pcf exists when loaded to obtain 90 pcf concrete density. This optimum appears to be between 330 microns and 650 microns for this particular formulation.

Example 3

Since the prepuff particle density also impacts the overall concrete density, changing the EPS density requires a change in the EPS loading level to maintain a constant concrete density. This relationship holds only as long as the total amount of prepuff particles is not so large as to compromise the strength of the surrounding concrete matrix. The relationship between the prepuff particle density and loading level provides additional opportunities to optimize concrete strength while controlling the overall concrete density.

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (0.65 mm) was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having varying densities as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions containing the components shown in the table below, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, and each having a concrete density of 90 lb/ft3.

Sample ASample BSample C
Prepuff Particle Bulk Density1.263.295.37
(lb/ft3)
Portland Cement, wt. %46.7(28.5) 46.2 (22.1)45.8 (18.9)
(vol. %)
Water, wt. % (vol. %)16.4(29.8) 16.2 (23)16.1 (19.7)
EPS, wt. % (vol. %)0.7(16.8)1.8 (35.6)2.6 (44.9)
Sand, wt. % (vol. %)36.2 (24.9)35.8 (19.3) 35.5(16.5)

The following data table numerically depicts the relationship between prepuff density and concrete strength at a constant concrete density of 90 lb/ft3.

Concrete
BeadPrepuff Particle Density,Compressive
Mean Size, μmBulk Density, lb/ft3lb/ft3Strength, psi
Sample A6501.26901463
Sample B6503.29901497
Sample C6505.37902157

The data show that as the prepuff particle density increases, the compressive strength of the LWC composition also increases at constant concrete density.

Example 4

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (0.65 mm) was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having a bulk density of 1.11b/ft3 as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, containing the components shown in the table below.

Sample DSample ESample F
Prepuff Particle Bulk Density1.11.11.1
(lb/ft3)
Portland Cement, wt. %46.8 (21.6)46.3 (18.9)46.1 (16.6)
(vol. %)
Water, wt. % (vol. %)16.4 (22.5)17 (20.6)17 (18.2)
EPS, wt. % (vol. %)0.6 (37)0.9 (44)1.1 (50.8)
Sand, wt. % (vol. %)36.2 (18.9)35.9 (16.5)35.8 (14.5)

The following data table numerically depicts the relationship between prepuff loading, concrete strength and concrete density.

Concrete
BeadPrepuff ParticleDensity, Compressive
Mean Size, μmBulk Density, lb/ft3lb/ft3Strength, psi
Sample D6501.189.61252
Sample E6501.180.9982
Sample F6501.172.4817

The data show that as prepuff particle loading in the LWC composition increases at constant foam particle density, the light weight concrete density and compressive strength decreases.

Example 5

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (0.65 mm) was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having various densities as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, containing the components shown in the table below.

Sample GSample HSample ISample J
Prepuff Particle 1.12.33.14.2
Bulk Density
(lb/ft3)
Portland Cement, 46.8 (21.6)46.8 (26.8)46.8 (28.4)46.8 (29.7)
wt. % (vol. %)
Water, wt. % 16.4 (22.5)16.4 (28)16.4 (29.6)16.4 (31)
(vol. %)
EPS, wt. % 0.6 (37)0.6 (21.8)0.6 (17.2)0.6 (13.4)
(vol. %)
Sand, wt. % 36.2 (18.9)36.2 (23.4)36.2 (24.8)36.2 (25.9)
(vol. %)

The following table numerically depicts the relationship between prepuff density and concrete strength at a constant concrete prepuff loading based on the weight of the formulation.

Concrete
BeadPrepuff Particle Density, Compressive
Mean Size, μmBulk Density, lb/ft3lb/ft3 Strength, psi
Sample G6501.189.61252
Sample H6502.32109.61565
Sample I6503.1111.72965
Sample J6504.2116.33045

The data show that as prepuff particle density in the light weight concrete composition increases at constant prepuff particle loading (by weight), light weight concrete density and compressive strength increases.

Example 6

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (0.65 mm) was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having various densities as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, containing the components shown in the table below.

Sample LSample M
Prepuff Particle Bulk Density1.13.1
(lb/ft3)
Portland Cement, wt. % (vol. %)46.3 (18.9)46.2 (21.4)
Water, wt. % (vol. %)17 (20.6)16.2 (22.3)
EPS, wt. % (vol. %)0.9 (44)1.8 (37.5)
Sand, wt. % (vol. %)35.9 (16.5)35.8 (18.7)

The following table numerically depicts the relationship between prepuff density and concrete strength at a constant concrete density.

Concrete
BeadPrepuff ParticleDensity, Compressive
Mean Size, μmBulk Density, lb/ft3lb/ft3 Strength, psi
Sample L6501.180.9982
Sample M6503.179.81401

The data show that as prepuff particle density in the LWC composition increases at constant concrete density, the compressive strength of the LWC increases.

Example 7

Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form (0.65 mm) was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having various densities as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, containing the components shown in the table below.

Sample NSample O
Prepuff Particle Bulk Density3.95.2
(lb/ft3)
Portland Cement, wt. % (vol. %)46 (21.5)45.6 (21.4)
Water, wt. % (vol. %)16.1 (22.4)16 (22.3)
EPS, wt. % (vol. %)2.3 (37.3)3 (37.5)
Sand, wt. % (vol. %)35.6 (18.8)35.4 (18.7)

The following data table numerically depicts the relationship between prepuff density and concrete strength at a constant concrete density.

BeadPrepuff ParticleConcrete
Mean Size,Bulk Density,Compressive
μmlb/ft3Density, lb/ft3Strength, psi
Sample N6503.985.31448
Sample O6505.284.31634

The data show that as prepuff particle density in the LWC composition increases at constant concrete density, the compressive strength of the LWC increases.

Example 8

The following examples demonstrate the use of expanded slate as an aggregate in combination with the prepuff particles of the present invention. Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having various densities as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, containing the components shown in the table below.

Mixed expanded
slate/EPS runsExample PExample Q
Bead Mean Size,0.330.4
micron
Prepuff Particle Bulk5.244.5
Density, pcf
Weight %
Cement19.84%21.02%
EPS1.80%1.44%
Expanded slate42.02%39.07%
Water6.96%7.36%
Volume %
Cement9.53%10.34%
EPS22.71%21.74%
Expanded slate41.91%39.91%
Water9.95%10.78%
LWC density (pcf)90.993.7
LWC strength (psi)1360.01800.0

The data show that desirable light weight concrete can be obtained using the prepuff of the present invention and expanded slate as aggregate in light weight concrete compositions.

Example 9

The following examples demonstrate the use of expanded slate as an aggregate used in combination with the prepuff particles of the present invention. Polystyrene in unexpanded bead form was pre-expanded into prepuff particles having various densities as shown in the table below. The prepuff particles were formulated into LWC compositions, in a 3.5 cubic foot drum mixer, containing the components shown in the table below.

Example R Example SExample TExample UExample VExample W
Bead size (mm)0.50.40.40.40.40.4
Prepuff density (lb./ft3)403.43.43.43.43.4
(unexpanded)
Weight %
Cement34.4%35.0%36.2%37.3%35.9%37.1%
Sand0.0%23.2%9.9%0.0%15.8%1.9%
EPS25.0%1.5%1.4%0.6%1.5%1.3%
Slate25.9%26.3%38.1%47.1%32.4%44.7%
Water14.6%14.0%14.5%14.9%14.4%14.9%
Total100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%
water/cement0.430.400.400.400.400.40
Volume %
Cement15.8%16.1%16.1%18.3%16.1%16.1%
Sand0.0%12.1%5.0%0.0%8.0%1.0%
EPS39.5%27.3%24.4%11.9%26.4%23.4%
Slate24.7%25.2%35.3%48.0%30.3%40.3%
Water20.0%19.2%19.2%21.8%19.2%19.2%
total100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%
compressive strength381325362718424625492516
(psi)
density (pcf)89.391.190.798.089.789.9

Example 10

One-foot square, 4 inch thick concrete forms were made by pouring formulations prepared according to examples X and Y in the table below into forms and allowing the formulations to set for 24 hours.

Example XExample Y
bead size (mm)0.40.65
Prepuff density (lb/ft3) 3.44.9
wt %
Cement35.0%33.1%
Sand23.2%45.4%
EPS1.5%2.9%
Slate26.3%0.0%
Water14.0%13.2
total100.0%
water/cement0.4040.0%
Volume %
Cement16.1%16.0%
Sand12.1%24.7%
EPS27.3%40.3%
Slate25.2%0.0%
Water19.2%19.1%
total100.0%
compressive strength25362109
(psi)
density (pcf)91.190.6

After 7 days, a one-foot square, ½ inch sheet of plywood was fastened directly to the formed concrete. A minimum of one-inch penetration was required for adequate fastening. The results are shown in the table below.

FastenerExample XExample Y
7 d coated nails
attachmentNo penetration when 100% penetration and
slate is encounteredattachment
removalEasily removedCould not be manually
removed from the concrete
without mechanical
assistance
2½ inch
standard
dry wall screw
attachmentNo penetration when 100% penetration and
slate is encounteredattachment. Screw broke
before concrete failed.
removalEasily removedCould not be manually
removed from the concrete
without mechanical
assistance. Screw could be
removed and reinserted with
no change in holding power.

The data demonstrates that the present light-weight concrete composition, without slate, provides superior gripping capability with plywood using standard fasteners compared to traditional expanded slate formulations, while slate containing concrete did not readily accept fasteners. This represents an improvement over the prior art as the time consuming practice of fixing anchors into the concrete to enable the fasteners to grip thereto can be eliminated.

Example 11

One-foot square, 4 inch thick concrete forms were made by pouring the formulations of Examples X and Y into forms and allowing the formulations to set for 24 hours. After 7 days, a one-foot square, ½ inch sheet of standard drywall sheet was fastened directly to the formed concrete using standard 1¾ inch drywall screws. A minimum of one-inch screw penetration was required for adequate fastening. The results are shown in the table below.

FastenerExample XExample Y
1¾ inch
standard dry
wall screw
attachmentNo penetration when slate 100% penetration and
encounteredis attachment. Screw could
penetrate through the
drywall.
removalEasily removed.Could not be manually
removed from the concrete
without mechanical
assistance. Screw could be
removed and reinserted with
no change in holding power.

The data demonstrates that the present light-weight concrete composition, without slate, provides superior gripping capability compared to traditional expanded slate formulations, which did not readily accept fasteners. This represents an improvement over the prior art as the time consuming practice of fastening nailing studs to the concrete to allow for attaching the drywall thereto can be eliminated.

Example 12

Two-foot square, 4 inch thick concrete forms were made by pouring the formulations Examples X and Y into a form and allowing the formulations to set for 24 hours. After 7 days, a three foot long, 2″×4″ stud was fastened directly to the formed concrete using standard 16d nails. A minimum of two-inch nail penetration was required for adequate fastening. The results are shown in the table below.

FastenerExample XExample Y
16 d nail
attachmentNo penetration when slate100% penetration and
is encounteredattachment.
removalEasily removed.Could not be manually removed
from the concrete without
mechanical assistance.

The data demonstrates that the present light-weight concrete composition, without slate, provides superior gripping capability compared to traditional expanded slate formulations, which did not readily accept fasteners. This represents an improvement over the prior art as the expensive and time consuming practice of using TAPCON® (available from Illinois Tool Works Inc., Glenview, Illinois) or similar fasteners, lead anchors, or other methods known in the art to fasten studs to concrete can be eliminated.

Example 13

Concrete without additional aggregate was made using the ingredients shown in the table below.

Ex. AA Ex. BB Ex. CCEx. DDEx. EE Ex. FFEx. GG Ex. HH Ex. II
Starting BeadF271TF271CM97BCF271TF271CM97BCF271TF271CM97BC
bead size (mm)0.40.510.650.40.510.650.40.510.65
Density (pcf)1.21.31.53.43.33.45.75.54.9
Prepuff size (mm)1.351.562.080.871.261.540.751.061.41
Expansion Factor 484848181818121212
wt %
Cement33.035.835.033.033.035.033.033.033.1
Sand51.547.250.150.350.448.949.049.245.3
EPS0.60.80.91.81.72.23.03.02.9
Water14.916.114.014.814.814.014.914.813.2
Volume %
Cement16.016.016.016.016.016.016.016.016.0
Sand28.123.725.827.527.525.226.826.924.7
EPS34.538.839.135.135.139.835.835.740.2
Water21.421.419.121.421.419.121.421.419.1
compressive175016501720177022001740185024002100
strength (psi)
density (pcf)938789909288899090

The data shows that the average prepuff size required to provide maximum compressive strength compositions is dependant, to some degree, on the expansion factor of the prepuff. Focusing on average prepuff size alone does not provide a good indicator of maximum potential concrete strength. This point is illustrated by comparing examples BB and FF. Example FF (1.54 mm size) does not provide maximum compressive strength at an 18× expansion factor, yet it is near the maximum strength that can be obtained from beads expanded 48×.

Using a combination of prepuff size and expansion factor can provide an indicator for maximum concrete strength. As an example, example AA (prepuff size, 1.35 mm and expansion factor 48) provides 93 pcf concrete with a compressive strength of 1750 psi while a similarly sized prepuff, example 11 (prepuff size 1.41 mm and expansion factor 12) provides 90 pcf concrete with a significantly higher compressive strength of 2100 psi. Thus smaller prepuff size and a lower expansion factor can provide higher compressive strength in the present light weight concrete composition within an optimum range of prepuff particle size.

Example 14

Concrete with expanded slate as an aggregate was made using the ingredients shown in the table below.

Ex. JJEx. KKEx. LLEx. MMEx. NNEx. OOEx. PPEx. QQEx. RR
Starting BeadF271TF271TF271TF271TF271TF271TF271T F271TF271T
bead size (mm)0.40.40.40.40.40.40.40.40.4
Density (pcf)3.43.43.43.43.43.43.43.43.4
Prepuff size (mm)0.870.870.870.870.870.870.870.870.87
Expansion Factor181818181818181818
wt %
Cement35.933.030.535.933.030.635.933.030.6
Sand08.215.610.618.024.321.127.733.2
EPS1.10.80.51.31.00.71.61.20.9
Exp. Slate48.744.841.337.834.832.227.024.923.0
Water14.413.212.214.413.212.214.413.212.2
Volume %
Cement16.016.016.016.016.016.016.016.016.0
Sand04.59.35.39.814.310.615.119.6
EPS19.915.510.724.620.215.729.324.920.4
Exp. Slate45.045.045.035.035.035.025.025.025.0
Water19.119.119.119.119.119.119.119.119.1
7-day322038504070244028903745230026253695
strength (psi)
Density (pcf)92.898.5102.790.796.8101.588.194.5101.3

The data indicates that while the EPS volume required to maintain approximately 90 pcf density concrete decreases somewhat linearly as the slate concentration increases; the present light weight concrete's strength increases exponentially as the amount of slate in the formulation increases. This relationship highlights the potentially significant impact of including aggregates in the present light weight concrete formulation and demonstrates the potential for optimizing the amount of EPS and aggregates in the formulation to maximize strength at a desired density. In addition, the cost of various components can also be included in such a design and the light weight concrete formulation can be optimized for both maximum strength and lowest cost.

Example 15

Concrete with unexpanded EPS (1037C) and no additional aggregate was made using the ingredients shown in the table below.

Ex. JJEx. KKEx. LL
bead size (mm) 0.510.510.51
Density (pcf)404040
Expansion111
Factor
wt %
Cement38.733.028.8
Sand021.637.8
EPS43.930.420.4
Water17.414.913.0
Volume %
Cement16.016.016.0
Sand011.823.6
EPS62.650.738.9
Slate21.421.421.4
Water16.016.016.0
compressive255828603100
strength (psi)
density (pcf)7689100

The data show that unexpanded polystyrene resin beads (˜40 pcf bulk density) can provide a light weight concrete composition having surprisingly high compressive strength (2500-3200 psi) at low density (76-100 pcf).

Example 16

Prepuff from F271T bead expanded to 1.2 lb/ft3, F271C bead expanded to 1.3 lb/ft3 and M97BC bead expanded to 1.5 lb/ft3 were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The surface and inner cells of each are shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 (F271T), 3 and 4 (F271C), and 5 and 6 (M97BC) respectively.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, the external structure of the prepuff particles was generally sphereical in shape having a continuous surface outer surface or skin. As shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6, the internal cellular structure of the prepuff samples resembles a honeycomb-type sturcture.

The size of the prepuff particles was also measured using SEM, the results are shown in the table below.

T prepuff
(microns)(1.2 pcf)C prepuff (1.3 pcf)BC prepuff (1.5 pcf)
Outer diameter121613601797
Internal cell size42.752.155.9
Internal cell wall0.420.340.24
Cell wall/cell size0.00980.00650.0043
C prepuff (3.4 pcf)BC prepuff (3.1 pcf)
Outer diameter11331294
Internal cell size38.231.3
Internal cell wall0.260.47
Cell wall/cell size0.00680.0150

Taken with all of the data presented above, the data provide an indication that internal cellular structure might affect the strength of a light weight concrete formulation.

When used in light weight concrete compositions, the prepuff particles can impact the overall strength of the concrete in two ways. First, the larger particles, which have a lower density, change the concrete matrix surrounding the prepuff particle and secondly, the lower density prepuff particle is less rigid due to the cell structure of the foamed particle. Since the strength of the concrete depends, at least to some extent, on the strength of the prepuff particles, increased prepuff particle strength should result in greater light weight concrete strength. The potential strength increase can be limited by the extent to which it impacts the concrete matrix. The data in the present examples suggest that the original bead particle size can be optimized to provide an optimally sized prepuff particle (which is controlled by the prepuff density), which results in the highest possible lightweight concrete strength.

In other words, within an optimum prepuff particle size and optimum density range, the wall thickness of the prepuff will provide sufficient support to allow the present light weight concrete composition to have better strength than light weight concrete compositions in the prior art.

The data presented herein demonstrate that unlike the presumption and approach taken in the prior art, expanded EPS particles can do surprisingly more than act simply as a void space in the concrete. More specifically, the structure and character of the prepuff particles used in the present invention can significantly enhance the strength of the resulting light weight concrete composition.

Example 17

This example demonstrates the use of fasteners with the present light weight concrete composition and related pull-out strength. This evaluation was used to compare the load capacity of a screw directly installed in the present light weight concrete (approximately 90 pcf) with conventional concrete fasteners installed in normal weight and traditional lightweight concrete.

Fastener pullout testing was performed on three types of concrete: normal weight, 143 pcf (sample MM, 140 pcf normal concrete), lightweight concrete using expanded slate (123 pcf) (sample NN, 120 pcf LWC), and lightweight concrete with EPS (87 pcf) (sample OO, 90 pcf LWC) made as described above according to the formulations in the following table.

Sample MM Sample NNSample OO
140 pcf120 pcf90 pcf
EPS bead size (mm)0.51
density (pcf)3.37
wt %
cement20.224.832.9
sand34.636.452.7
EPS1.86
⅜″ pea gravel37.6
½″ expanded slate29.4
Water7.79.4112.51
vol %
cement16.01616
sand30.926.528.9
EPS37
⅜″ pea gravel35.0
½″ expanded slate39.4
Water18.118.118.12
compressive494191072137
strength (psi)
density (pcf)14312387

An apparatus was built that allowed weights to be hung vertically from each fastener using gravity to apply a load in line with the axis of the fastener. The 90 pcf LWC had 2½″ standard drywall screws directly installed to approximately 1½″ depth. The 120 pcf LWC had two types of fasteners installed into predrilled holes:2¾ TAPCON® metal screw-type masonry fastening anchors (Illinois Tool Works Inc., Glenview, Ill.) installed approximately 2″ deep and standard 2¼″ expanding wedge-clip bolt/nut anchors installed approximately 1¼″ deep. The 140 pcf normal concrete also had two types of fasteners installed into predrilled holes: 2¾″ TAPCON anchors installed approximately 2″ deep and standard 2¼″ expanding wedge-clip bolt/nut anchors installed approximately 1¼″ deep. One of the drywall screws in the light weight concrete was backed out and re-installed into the same fastener hole for testing. Also one of the TAPCON screws was removed and reinstalled to evaluate any loss in capacity. The following tables show the data and loadings for each anchor/fastener tested.

90 pcf LWC Drywall Screw
ScrewExtract and
Stone 1:Length (in)Exposed (in)re-install (in)Strength (lb)
Screw B2.50.5941.906700 @ 30 sec.
90 pcf LWC Drywall Screw
Screw
Stone 2:Length (in) Exposed (in)Installed (in)Strength (lb)
Screw C2.51.0311.469>740 > 10
min.
120 pcf LWC TAPCON Screws
ScrewExtract and
Stone 3:Length (in)Exposed (in)re-install (in)Strength (lb)
Screw C2.750.8751.875>740 > 10 min.
120 pcf LWC Bolt/Sleeve/Nut
Anchor
Stone 4:Length (in) Exposed (in)Installed (in)Strength (lb)
Anchor D2.250.8751.375>740 > 10 min.
140 pcf normal concrete TAPCON Screws
ScrewExtract and
Stone 5:Length (in)Exposed (in)re-install (in)Strength (lb)
Screw C2.750.9061.844>740 > 10 min.
140 pcf normal concrete Bolt/Sleeve/Nut
Anchor
Stone 6:Length (in)Exposed (in)Installed (in) Strength (lb)
Anchor C2.251.0941.156>740 > 10 min.

The holding power of the drywall screws in the 90 pcf LWC was surprisingly high as they did not easily break or tear from the concrete. The drywall screws were easy to install, only requiring a standard size electric drill. The gripping strength of the drywall screws in the 90 pcf LWC was such that if the applied drilling torque was not stopped before the screw head reached the surface of the concrete, the head of the screw would twist off. All of the fasteners held the 740 lbs. of load for at least 10 minutes except the backed out and re-inserted drywall screw in the 90 pcf LWC, which held 700 lbs. for 30 seconds before tearing loose from the concrete. This drywall screw did not break at the failure point, but pulled out of the concrete.

Taking the above data as a whole, it has been demonstrated that an optimum prepuff bead size exists (as a non-limiting example, approximately 450-550 μm resin beads expanded to an expansion factor of approximately 10-20 cc/g to a prepuff diameter of approximately 750 to 1400 μm for 90 pcf lightweight concrete) to maximize the compressive strength of the present light weight concrete formulations. The compressive strength of the present light weight concrete formulations can be increased by increasing the present EPS prepuff bead density. Unexpanded polystyrene resin (˜40 pcf bulk density) yields LWC of high compressive strength (2500-3200 psi) considering the low density (76-100 pcf). Aggregates can be used in the present light weight concrete formulations. The present light weight concrete formulations, without course aggregates, provide a concrete composition, which may be directly fastened to using standard drills and screws. When the EPS prepuff beads are expanded to low bulk densities (for example <1 pcf), the beads have a weak internal cellular structure, which creates a weaker foam, and in turn provides a light weight concrete composition having a lower compressive strength.

The present invention has been described with reference to specific details of particular embodiments thereof. It is not intended that such details be regarded as limitations upon the scope of the invention except insofar as and to the extent that they are included in the accompanying claims.