The American company MATT Construction uses an innovative technology called BubbleDeck (which can be translated as "bubble plate"), in which a significant part of the concrete mass is replaced by foamed or hollow plastic balls made from recycled plastic. The Harvey Mudd College building (HMC), designed by Boora Architects, is the first building in the United States to use this technology.
BubbleDeck allows you to increase the span and reduce the floor height by reducing weight while maintaining the performance of reinforced concrete slabs. The concept is based on the fact that a concrete spacer can be removed from the slab, without compromising its bearing capacity, between the lower layer, where the reinforcement is in tension, and the upper layer, where the concrete works in compression. The stiffening frame of the slab can be made of two layers of reinforcing welded steel wire, and hollow or filled with insulation balls can be placed between the gratings, which will reduce the slab weight by 35% compared to monolithic reinforced concrete.
Once the concrete is poured, the BubbleDeck system behaves like a monolithic biaxial slab that distributes the load evenly and continuously. The large span slab is easily assembled from prefabricated panels.
Lightweight and thin precast slabs allow fewer columns and beams than traditional concrete slabs. For architects and builders, this opportunity provides great flexibility in planning solutions. “Reduced structural weight and larger spans provide more design options,” said Amy Donoghue, Chief Architect at Boora.
This allowed the architects to create the most open space, with high ceilings and spans between the columns of more than 12 meters. Overlap height - 340 mm. The distance from floor to ceiling is up to 6 meters. So it is in the multilevel lecture hall. both the stage area and the rehearsal rooms of the student theater managed to do without intermediate supports.
Although the system proved to be comparable in price to traditional slabs, its implementation in such a large-scale project proved to be more efficient, as construction costs were reduced by 10%.
The composition of the slab varied depending on the specific technical conditions, for example, where an operating green roof was planned above the slab, the load from the soil was added to the calculations.
All structures were created on the campus construction site, with weekly visits by students and teachers who left their autographs and messages on the balloons, and teachers included the classes on the construction site in the educational process.
BubbleDeck specifications are suitable for use in all types of buildings. The BubbleDeck system was first used in Denmark and has been used for many years in Europe and Canada.
Since 2004, BubbleDeck Canada has successfully completed four large scale projects and two smaller projects.