Thermal concrete lightens the concrete load: AfriSam Thermal Concrete combines the lightness of EPS beads with the strength of concrete to create a lightweight insulating concrete overlay.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) concrete is a light but strong building component that has high insulating properties and can create a stone-like surface for creative projects. Garden statues, curved projects, panels for energy-efficient homes or unusual items such as concrete counter tops.
AfriSam Thermal Concrete, which is developed, produced and marketed by the decorative company Concreate in partnership with the cement and concrete giant AfriSam, is a lightweight concrete that uses selective grades of EPS beads (in conjunction with special admixtures), which act as a thermal insulating aggregate to increase the thermal capacity of a structure.
Concreate’s director, Peter Norton, explains: “Thermal Concrete is supplied by a Readymix truck to the site. The mix contains cement and EPS beads to create a product that combines the construction ease of concrete with the thermal insulation properties of EPS. Thermal Concrete can be used for a wide range of applications where light loads and thermal insulation are both required.”
Norton explains that insulation and thermal capacity are both closely linked to air, so the more air a product incorporates, the more insulating it becomes — and this is where the EPS beads come into play.
Use and application
Because Thermal Concrete is ten times lighter than normal concrete, pumpable to 60 metres and easy to apply, the product can be used on flat, reinforced concrete roofs without adding the extra weight of concrete.
It can also be used on flat metal decks, green roofs, balconies and terraces, and as a protection screed over waterproofing membranes. It is easy to cast to falls and is often used for a base screed to receive torch-on waterproofing systems, at the same time providing thermal capacity to the structure.
“AfriSam Thermal Concrete is mainly used to increase the thermal capacity of a structure and, because it can be moulded into any shape and slope, it can also be used on basement and cavity walls, as well as in decorative concrete finishes and furniture. The product is quick-setting, durable and will last as long as any concrete finish. The insulating properties of the EPS also render it to be environmentally-friendly,” says Norton.
To date, AfriSam Thermal Concrete has been used on the MTN switchgear project in Centurion, where the specialist flooring contractor Concrete Laser Flooring (CLF) used the product on a 2 000m2 flat roof, without adding weight to the structure.
It was also used at the Melrose Arch apartment complex as a sloped screed to receive torch-on waterproofing and at the BMW facility in Rosslyn, where it provides a levelling and thermal insulating layer underneath the post-tensioned floor.
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