Expanded Polystyrene Provides Sloy Solution
Expanded polystyrene provided the unlikely solution to helping to prevent spray from a hydroelectric power station from causing problems to traffic on a nearby road. Sloy Hydro Power Station on Loch Lomond in Scotland was built in 1950 and at full operation, one million gallons of water pass through the turbines every minute.
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) completely refurbished the power station back in 1999 to provide a greater output of clean energy and even better efficiency at the plant.
In recent months, engineers had found that occasionally an excess of water surged through the turbine, causing excessive spray. Civil engineering firm Edmund Nuttall were commissioned to build a bridge to deflect the spray back into the loch to prevent any third party involvement. Jablite was successful in tendering for the contract to supply expanded polystyrene (EPS) blocks to fill the gap between the steel girders of the bridge. Over 300m3 of Fillmaster Type FM50 was specified for the project, which is a lightweight fill material with a high strength to weight ratio that is used in many civil engineering applications.
John Slaven of Edmund Nuttall explains: "The structure required a much lighter fill material than concrete to avoid overloading the underlying ground structure and Fillmaster provided the perfect solution.
"Jablite provided not only a competitive price but also the best proposal containing full design drawings and installation detail. This was an innovative solution to an unusual problem but we are confident it will generate the right result. The structure will allow the station to maximize the generated output without the risk of excessive spray and so increasing its green generating potential."
Jablite's Technical Sales Manager Adrian Walker explains: "Fillmaster offers a lightweight alternative to traditional fill materials, which was particularly appropriate in this application. Many civil and structural engineers are finding that expanded polystyrene provides a stable, reliable material, where exceptional performance, strength and integrity are required."
In addition to its physical properties, expanded polystyrene is easy to handle and compatible with rapid construction techniques. As part of modern methods of construction, it can be transported to site in the minimum number of loads, producing less waste than ever before and with no negative environmental impact. Expanded polystyrene is also environmentally stable as it is HCFC-free and non toxic, which makes it an attractive proposition all round. The material is also extremely versatile as its closed-cell formation inhibits absorption of water and therefore avoids all of the problems of waterlogging and drainage that are associated with other fill materials.
Adrian Walker continues: "Expanded polystyrene enables civil engineers to turn their design concepts into reality. It is quick and simple to install and its high strength to weight ratio delivers a multitude of benefits which are contributing to the success of many civil engineering projects."
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been used for over 30 years in road construction, for bridge abutments, bridge underfill, noise bunds, retaining walls, soft and hard landscaping and a whole host of other civil engineering applications.