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Researchers Identify Concrete Protection Method

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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A new piece of research out of a U.K. university suggests that a mix of additives and specialized curing agents could be the key to concrete that stands up to harsh environmental conditions.

A team at Brunel University London, led by Ph.D. candidate Mazen Al-Kheetan, looked into the use of different waterproofing materials for the protection of concrete in areas affected by conditions like heavy rain and wind.

Brunel University London

The Brunel researchers worked with Chem-Crete, a Texas-based firm, on the use of a patented crystallizing hydrophobic additive.

“Concrete under harsh environmental conditions suffers from accelerated deterioration, which reduces the service life of any structure that is built from concrete or reinforced concrete, such as bridges, ports or airport runways,” Al-Kheetan noted.

Al-Kheetan and his team sought to find solutions that would reduce the need for silane and siloxane-based water repellents, which they say bring health and environmental concerns.

Hydrophobic Additive

The Brunel researchers worked with Chem-Crete, a Texas-based firm, on the use of a patented crystallizing hydrophobic additive. The additive, added to the concrete when fresh, increased the compressive strength of the concrete that resulted, according to the team.

The researchers found that a wax-based curing agent, paired with the crystallizing additive, went a long way in protecting the concrete from deterioration brought on by weather.

“This novel approach will help protect any concrete structure—and even masonry and heritage structures—from the penetration of water and harmful chemicals like chlorides and sulfates,” Al-Kheetan said.

The researchers note that because the treatment can be applied when concrete is still fresh, the method can cut down on time and costs versus more traditional waterproofing.

The study was published in the journal Construction and Building Materials.


Tagged categories: Colleges and Universities; concrete; Research; Research and development; Waterproofing

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