Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Cement Based Composite Materials with Styrofoam Inclusions

Kurt Strecker*, Carlos Augusto da Silva, Sérgio Luiz Moni Ribeiro Filho
Federal University of São João Del-Rei, Praça Frei Orlando, 170, São João Del-Rei, MG, Brazil

© Strecker et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Federal University of São João Del-Rei, Praça Frei Orlando, 170, São João Del-Rei, MG, Brazil; Tel/Fax: +55 (32) 33792595; E-mail:


In civil engineering an increasing demand for lightweight concretes exists, because a lower density results in significant benefits for structural elements. Polystyrene foams may be used in the fabrication of lightweight concretes with a large density range. In this work, the influence of fine grained sand (<1mm) additions of 5, 10 and 20% on the properties of a composite consisted of cement with styrofoam inclusions of 20, 40 and 60% has been studied. Finite element analysis (FEA), using Abaqus software package, was carried out to predict numerically the effect of particle size and polystyrene fraction on the compressive strength of the composite materials. The composites were characterized by their density, porosity and compressive strength after 28 days. The density of the composites varied between 1250 and 1600 kg/m3 with a strength of 18 and 9 MPa for 20 and 60% of Styrofoam inclusions, respectively. The increase of the fraction of sand from 5 to 20% promoted the increase in bulk density and modulus of the composites. The effect of the addition of sand on the porosity and mechanical strength exhibited variation indicating the packing factor of the particles as the main responsible for this behavior. Based on the finite element analysis the amount of the stress in the composite increases with the increasing particle diameter. The composites investigated exhibited a uniform distribution of the polystyrene spheres, allowing their use for non-structural purposes.

Keywords: Composite particulate, Cement, Finite element analysis, Styrofoam.