Pontarolo Engineering manufactures an innovative modular building unit for creating ventilated under-floor cavities, trademarked as CUPOLEX. Both slab on grade and structural slabs can be created using this formwork. This innovative technology is designed to enhance the building of energy efficient buildings and has been found to be of assistance in eradicating problems associated with contaminated soils. The under-floor cavity can reduce dampness, mold and mildew, while providing ventilation in all directions beneath the slab. This cavity can also convey any potential permeating gases from volatiles or contaminated soils, including radon gas, to the outside of the building.
CUPOLEX is a permanent formwork made of recycled plastic modular elements, having various sizes. They inter-connect to compose a self-bearing structure, suitable for placement of concrete to create a slab of variable thickness. CUPOLEX is a formwork that is not used twice. The distinctive domed shape of the modular elements is used to form concrete slabs that provide an internal orthogonal space allowing for air-circulation.
CUPOLEX is the commercial name of Pontarolo Engineering's ventilated flooring formwork. The Forms are made of polypropylene and are manufactured from non-toxic, recycled materials. Elements are designed to be connected to one another to form a self-bearing structure, resting on a pre-arranged base. CUPOLEX is therefore ready, after installation, for steel reinforcement, if required, and for placement of concrete. Continuous space is available beneath the array of CUPOLEX elements that can be used for installing ductwork, cables, piping, heating and ventilation systems. The material is durable, withstands extreme temperatures and aging, and will not break or tear.
Until code approvals in the United States market are achieved, slabs designed with the CUPOLEX system usually will require the stamp or seal of a licensed professional engineer. Pontarolo Engineering has contacts with design professionals in a number of States that are available to provide sealed designs and drawings.
The ventilated space created by the CUPOLEX system can be conditioned and used for HVAC duct work. Ductwork in conditioned space reduces heat loss and energy costs.
CUPOLEX is manufactured from recycled plastics. Having a ventilated space beneath the slab allows radon gas to be vented to the exterior, and potential for mold and mildew to be reduced.
The CUPOLEX System and its accessories are available to be shipped directly to contractors from the manufacturer, Pontarolo Engineering, in Canada.
Technicians and qualified personnel at Pontarolo Engineering are at the designer's disposal to provide consultation, technical documentation and assistance during the design stage, from calculating quantities, to positioning elements in any type of plan. Contact Pontarolo Engineering to obtain further information or free software.
Use of CUPOLEX for a supported concrete slab will cost more than a conventional slab-on-grade. The CUPOLEX system varies from $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot.
Testing of the CUPOLEX system has been conducted by the University of Padova in conjunction with the ISIB National Research Council and Metralab, and was completed in November 2003. The research consisted of numerical models, as well as their experimental validation with in situ tests. Over thirty stress-rupture tests were conducted with various reinforcements, concrete thickness, geothechnical characterization of the sub grades supporting the elements, and geometric designs. Various loads were then applied with a hydraulic jack until breakage occurred. The project data refers to the concrete over layer and to the levels of reinforcement required, as established according to the soil characteristics and loading types and levels.
There has been various code approvals acquired internationally. In North America, Pontarolo Engineering has applied for the BMEC, CCMC, and NETE certifications for Canada and is in the process of applying for various code approvals in the United States and Mexico. Pontarolo Engineering has applied and been granted the ISO 9001:2000 for the Company's certification requirements as a manufacturer and Quality Control of the CUPOLEX System.
A Technical Study Report and certificate was prepared by Trow Consulting Engineers for Pontarolo Engineering for the review of the CUPOLEX finite element program used in designing CUPOLEX Floors.
Pontarolo Engineering's CUPOLEX Aerated Flooring System has also been assessed and certified by the Canadian Ministry of Environment. The Ministry concluded that the CUPOLEX system is a viable technology for the control of vapor emissions from contaminated soil and ground water and provides a Level 2 Risk Management approach for Brownfield redevelopment.
Complete test results and certification documents are available upon request.
The CUPOLEX system was designed with labor savings in mind. CUPOLEX forms were designed to be lightweight and easy to install, and to accommodate varying site conditions, special applications, and on-site construction modifications. Each unit has an installation arrow. Commence installation by starting from left to right in rows. Speed and simplicity are the main characteristics, and skilled labor is not required. On average, two laborers can install 1500 square feet of the system in one hour.
CUPOLEX assemble on whatever type of resting surface with minimal site work requirements. Elements can be assembled on ground, gravel, lean concrete, asphalt, cardboard void, wood or rigid insulation, as long as minimum bearing capacity is provided under the legs. Placing and finishing of the concrete overlay is conventional.
The Pontarolo in-house technical department team can provide design assistance to assess the available information and provide site-specific design recommendations, supported with calculations.
Pontarolo and its technical personnel have developed a program for designers in the North American marketplace called "Easy CUPOLEX". The program was designed to be adapted to Canadian and American building codes, standards, and standards of practice.
Pontarolo's Engineering Department is at the disposal of designers and builders to provide detailed information on products, guide the installation and use of software as well as provide assistance at the design stage. They will provide the following software, free of charge, upon request.
- Software for calculating the CUPOLEX® aerated floor sub-base
- Software for calculating the CUPOLEX®-PONTEX® self-supporting aerated floor sub-base
- A CAD application that allows the positioning of the CUPOLEX® and BETON STOP® products on a plan view, so that the quantity and arrangement of elements can be displayed exactly
CUPOLEX is economical, because of not only the low cost of the raw material used and the reduced weight required, but also for the reduced costs for assembly operations and handling. Speed and simplicity of assembly are the principle characteristics of the system. It also complies with all safety regulations in building sites.
Advantages of CUPOLEX
- Fast assembly
- Layout complies with grid system
- Minimal transportation costs
- Substantially reduces dampness, mold and mildew
- Creates Ventilation in all directions underneath the slab
- Pouring of slab, foundations, footings and beams can be done in one operation
- Excellent solution for frost protected shallow slab foundations
- Less granular materials and concrete required
- Excellent solution for freezer and cold room floors
- Conveys ground gases outside of building
- Provides space for running services (ductwork, cables, conduits, piping etc.)
- Provides superior floor comfort
- Integrated matt foundation/footing in a single cast
- Suitable for suspended floor-slabs
The CUPOLEX forming system also comprises elements for beams and closures called PONTEX and BETON STOP. CUPOLEX is available in heights of 2", 4", 5", 8", 10", 12", 14", 16", 18", 20" and 28". CUPOLEX and its accessories are patented.
BETON STOP, an accessory to the CUPOLEX system is an element made of recycled plastic suitable for closing the side openings of CUPOLEX floor forming system. The use of BETON STOP in place of traditional forming can allow a saving in terms of both labor (laying is much quicker) and material. The price for the CUPOLEX system ranges from $1.00 per square foot to $3.00 per square foot; the cheapest being shallower forms and the most expensive are taller forms.