About Cupolex

History Of Cupolex

cartoon1The name CUPOLEX® comes from the Italian word Cupola meaning dome. There are hundreds of million square feet of CUPOLEX® which have been successfully installed in buildings and other applications throughout the globe. It was originally designed to ventilate Radon Gas from new buildings for US Air Force bases in Italy. Radon Gas is prevalent in areas of Europe, the United States and Canada. CUPOLEX® since its inception has been used in applications such as historic building renovations, water retention/detention and vapor/moisture mitigation, for tree soil cell applications and as a cost effective and efficient replacement for engineered fill. It is extensively used in Industrial and Commercial applications as well as Residential. Designers, real estate developers and consultants all over the world have positioned CUPOLEX®® at the forefront of Aerated Floor technology. It has revolutionized the conventional application of concrete slab on grade construction.

Mechanics Of Arches And Domes

Arches and domes have been used since early times. The semicircular arch was first used by the Romans 2000 years ago (Giancoli 2008). These structures primarily resolve any forces into compression, making them suitable for masonry or concrete construction. An arch is two-dimensional architectural feature that can span large distances without intermediate supports (Reid 1984). Arches carry loads by resolving external loads into mainly internal axial compression forces. This is a particularly beneficial property for materials with low tensile strengths, e.g. unreinforced concrete and masonry. Although bending moments, causing both compressive and tensile stresses are generally induced, they are typically small in magnitude (Schodek and Bechthold 2008). The supports of the arch must carry horizontal and vertical forces. The thrust of externally applied loads tend to force the bottom of the arch outwards, which can cause it to collapse. Consequently, sufficient buttressing is required at the bottom of the arch to prevent this movement. It was discovered that pointed arches, as compared to semicircular arches, have lower lateral thrusts and require less resistance to prevent collapse.

A dome can be considered to be an arch that has been rotated around its central axis, making it in essence a series of radial arch ribs (Sandaker et al. 2011). Similar to arch behaviour, the bottom of a dome tends to thrust outwards from the compressive forces in the arch ribs. These forces must be restrained in order to prevent collapse. Two primary methods are employed to restrain the outward thrust. The first is the use of base tension ring. The forces in the dome will apply radial horizontal forces to a base ring, putting it into a state of tension. Materials such as cast iron and steel are used for this purpose. The other method is to restrain the outward forces using sufficiently thick buttresses. The self-weight of the buttresses resists the outward thrust of the dome structures, putting it into static equilibrium. In a dome shaped shell, two sets of forces in separate directions act on the surface (Schodek and Bechthold 2008). The in-plane meridional forces are always compressive under full vertical loading. Hoop forces act in the circumferential direction, perpendicular to the meridional forces. However, these forces may be tensile or compressive, depending on their location in the shell. At the top of the shell, the hoop forces are typically compressive, resisting inward movement. At the bottom of the same shell, the shell has a tendency to deform outwards. Consequently, the resisting hoop forces are tensile. Uniform loading generally induces fairly small stresses associated with hoop and meridional forces. However, point loads may cause very high stresses and should be minimized in dome structures.

What Is Cupolex Made Of?

The primary goal of Pontarolo Engineering from inception was to provide the maximum performance and stability in the plastic elements comprising the CUPOLEX® aerated flooring system. Pontarolo Engineering has dedicated substantial financial resources to attain this goal with the most important result being the final concrete structure with its’ superior resistance and longevity. The placement of the concrete represents one of the last procedures to be completed. There remain a number of operations that are completed directly above the plastic CUPOLEX® elements before the placement of the concrete. This is what is termed “impact resistance”. The positioning of the elements, the layout of the reinforcement, the creations of the ducts are all tasks that see the workers walk on top on the elements with various loads, and sometimes in difficult situations. CUPOLEX®, therefore, guarantees superior characteristics of stability and resistance in its structure. Pontarolo Engineering guarantees these characteristics through scrupulous and systematic quality control procedures.

Pontarolo Engineering produces CUPOLEX® in recycled polypropylene; or rather, a thermoplastic material derived by a process of grinding selected and checked plastic objects, (for instance chairs, bumpers, etc….). 

Usually, the principal elements that compose the recycled polypropylene are:

  • Polypropylene PP and polyethylene PE (both LD low density and HD high density) in a co-polymer;
  • Calcium carbonate /talc (it constitutes the so-called one “position” that it confers to the material characteristic of temperature and elevated external rigidity);
  • Fluidity (necessary for molding process).
  • Polypropylene

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic vinyl polymer made from ethylene and propylene, which are byproducts made of refined benzene gases. These gases are polymerized into polypropylene and polyethylene using high temperature and pressure in sluice systems in a closed process where no emissions are created in the atmosphere. The finished products are plastic grains of polypropylene and polyethylene consisting of hydrogen and carbon molecules. When incinerated the only substances released are carbon dioxide and water. As thermoplastics, they can be readily recycled, incinerated or disposed of in landfill sites. All production and post consumer waste can be recycled without difficulty. The finished product is very hard wearing, durable and able to withstand extreme temperatures and ageing without breakage or tearing.

Cupolex® Satisfies The Four Requirements Of The “Environment Commission”:

  • Minimum use of natural resources
  • Reduced emission of polluting substances
  • Long working life
  • Optimized reuse and recycling

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What Can Cupolex Offer

“ECO FLOOR” Assurance

The CUPOLEX® “ECO FLOOR” Assurance provides healthier environments and offer many advantages over conventional floor slabs, including ease of construction, economical savings and reduces building cycle times……..Features to satisfy the demands of the most discriminating clients. 

Confidence

You can design CUPOLEX® floors and structures with confidence knowing that our FORMING systems are used in millions of square feet of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional applications world-wide with no structural failures or callbacks.

Time Tested Technology

CUPOLEX® is not a new or experimental concept – hundreds of million square feet have been installed in buildings around the globe for over 2 decades, without any failures or structural call backs. See Projects

Flexibility

Any type floor design or site condition can be easily accommodated with CUPOLEX®.  CUPOLEX® Forms can be adapted to any design requirement. CUPOLEX® Forms come in standard heights starting at 2” up to 28″. A special extender CUPOLEX® Rialto can accommodate heights of up to 8’-0”’ or more. All CUPOLEX® Forms and their ancillary products are built to accommodate the reinforcing so it stays properly aligned before, during and after the concrete pour.

Reliability

CUPOLEX® forms are not only versatile, they are rated the strongest in the industry due to the additional built-in plastic at all pressure point locations with the patented reinforced cone support of height equal to the element positioned in correspondence of the central region, which also guarantees the absorption of vibrations that occurs during the finishing of the slab and which CUPOLEX® has proven over years to provide the solution to contractors for the problem they face using other systems to create aerated floors.

Guarantee

Pontarolo Engineering Inc., the manufacturer ensures that its’ products are manufactured according to the quality elements of the ISO 9000:2002 certified manufacturing facilities. CUPOLEX®, therefore, guarantees superior characteristics of stability and resistance in its structure and has positioned CUPOLEX® light years ahead of the competition.

Performance

The placement of the concrete represents one of the last procedures to be completed in the construction of a CUPOLEX® Aerated Floor. There remain a number of operations that are completed directly above the plastic CUPOLEX® form elements before the placement of the concrete. This is what is termed “IMPACT RESISTANCE”. The positioning of the elements, the layout of the reinforcement, the creations of the under slab void are all tasks that see the workers walk on top on the elements with various working loads, and sometimes in difficult situations.

The primary goal of Cupolex Building Systems® was to provide the maximum performance and stability in their CUPOLEX® Forms. Pontarolo Engineering the Manufacturer and Innovator of the CUPOLEX® Forms has dedicated substantial financial investment to attain this goal with the most important result being the final concrete structure with its’ superior resistance and longevity.

Structural Benefits and Advantages

On top of providing more effective vapor and moisture control at lower costs, and its sustainable attributes, CUPOLEX® also:

  • Reduces slab curling and shrinkage cracks, providing a higher quality surface,
  • Provides under-slab void for running cables and pipes, simplifying post-construction installation of new wiring and utilities,
  • Supports slabs on challenging and poor soil conditions, especially expansive soils,
  • Allows forming of complete structural suspended slabs on beam pile foundations,
  • Can be designed to create under-slab water reservoirs for storm water management and fire suppression water storage,
  • A more structural sound alternative to structural cell systems for providing tree root protection,
  • Approved for installation at USAF bases,
  • Manufactured to ISO 9000:2002 high quality standards,
  • Comes with engineering support, and
  • Can provide Certified Installers throughout the US and Canada.

Sustainable Solutions

CUPOLEX® is the most sustainable solution for radon, vapor intrusion, and moisture control available, assisting Architect/Designers to deliver Sustainable features which include:

  • Increased potential for wind and solar powered venting,
  • Made from 100% non-toxic recyclable material,
  • Contributes to GREEN or LEED certified building,
  • Reduces dampness, mold and mildew creating a healthier building environment,
  • Reduces material (concrete and rebar) consumption,
  • Replaces aggregate and engineered fill under slabs and pavements,
  • Reduces construction time and labor, and
  • Selected as the “Green” flooring system for the “American Home” at the 2010 International Builders Show in Las Vegas.

Low Cost Solution

The savings in labor and materials over conventional slabs usually can pay for the cost of CUPOLEX®, providing a highly efficient preemptive venting system at no additional cost. Compare this to the significant additional cost of installing the gravel venting layers and liners typically required to control vapors below conventional floor slabs.

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