Geofoams are polymer-based materials and are categorized under cellular geosynthetics. Geosynthetics conventionally comprise of products with two types of structures, namely open cell and closed cell structures. Geofoams are often used as alternative filler materials in a variety of construction projects. Moreover, these geofoams also find application as compensating foundations. Conventional filler materials, such as waste tires, formed concrete, wood chips, soil, wood fibre to name a few, possess high density and are vulnerable to damage from variable stresses and different weather conditions if used in long-term operations.Geofoams are generally lighter in weight and thus help in effective transportation of material over relatively longer distances. Geofoams are generally manufactured in block shapes and can be customised according to the application specific needs. Primarily, the function of geofoams includes the filling of voids beneath the surface of bridges, highways and parking lots and also to act as a reinforcing material. Moreover, geofoams pose exceptional shear and load bearing properties and provide adequate strength owing to their exceptional density, this helps in maintaining the compressive strength and further provides protection against frost and heat over relatively longer time period. Geofoams also maximise the installation efficiency in the site location. It can be prefabricated on the site location and can be installed with ease. Likewise, geofoams can be easily handled and inventoried. In the marketplace, conventionally used geofoams include Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) based geofoams and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) based geofoams.
Geofoams Market: Drivers and Restraints
Globally, the geofoams market have been witnessing robust growth in demand from a variety of applications over the past few years, moreover a similar trend is expected to be followed in the forthcoming years. The key reason behind the above-average growth in demand for geofoams is the increasing acceptance of the material across a variety of applications. Due to increase in the urban population globally, the construction industry is flourishing with the rapid pace further, this has further helped fuel the demand for geofoams in numerous construction applications. Furthermore, geofoams find increasingadoptionin various applications universally due to their superior properties, and nowadays they are extensively adopted in applications such as in tunnels for compressible inclusions, large industrial pipes, railway tracks and in storage tanks to avoid ground freezing. Geofoams generally do not require any kind of mechanical fastenings, which helps in overall reduction of construction cost. The overall cost for production of geofoams is generally much lower than that for some of the other construction materials. Ability of geofoams to exhibit resistance unaffected to weathering renders them material of choice for several demanding applications. Increase in road & rail matrix in emerging economies is also providing adequate growth opportunities for geofoams adoption. Major stakeholders present in the value chain are focusing to strengthen their product portfolio by developing new geofoams in order to address the industry challenges. Several research institutes and companies are collaboratively working on their R&D activities for the production of novel geofoams with increased efficacy. Apart from the various growth driving factors, there are certain restraining factors, which are expected to act as a hurdle in the growth of geofoams market. Untreated geofoams pose a threat of fire hazard and may result in damage. Geofoams show vulnerability towards certain petroleum solvents. When these geofoams come in contact with such solvents, they momentarily turn into an aqueous glue-like material which degrades their load-bearing capacities.
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Geofoams Market: Segmentation
On the basis of Product type, the geofoams market can be segmented as:
- Expanded Polystyrene
- Extruded Polystyrene
On the basis of Application, the geofoams market can be segmented as:
- Road Construction
- Green Roofs
Geofoams Market: Region-wise Outlook
The global geofoams market is segmented into the seven key regions: North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific Excluding Japan (APEJ), Japan and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). As of 2016, Asia Pacific is expected to account for a significant share in the overall demand for geofoams due to increase in road and rail infrastructure in the region. The construction industry is witnessing a steady growth in emerging economies, such as China, India, Thailand and Indonesia. So also in Latin American countries such as Brazil and Argentina owing to increase in commercial and residential construction activities. North America and Europe are also projected to propel the demand for geofoams in the future. MEA is also expected to exhibit considerable growth in the adoption of geofoams.
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Geofoams Market: Market Participants
Examples of some of the market participants in the global geofoams market identified across the value chain include:
- BASF Corporation
- Cellofoam Winchester
- ACH Foam Technologies
- Big Sky Insulations, Inc.
- Pacific Allied Products
- Beaver Plastics Ltd
- Carlisle Companies Incorporated