Construction Under the Microscope

  • Date: 3-23-2018
  • By: Euclid Chemical

Construction Under the Microscope: Big Technological Innovations on a Small Scale

As the construction industry gets bigger, with ever larger buildings and ever greater projects, the technology at its heart is getting smaller and smaller. 

This is especially true of the chemicals, fibers and admixtures that strengthen, repair, fortify and enhance the vast quantities of concrete required for today’s skyscrapers, stadiums and super structures. 

One of our latest advances in this field is micro-fiber technology that is able to achieve a low-shrinkage, highly durable concrete repair mortar. A key talking point at World of Concrete 2018, this is an important advance due in large part to the sheer scale of aging concrete - in fact the annual cost for repair, protection and strengthening of concrete in the United States is estimated to be $18-22 billion!

Traditional concrete repair mortars often fail because they are constrained by the surrounding concrete. Portland cement-based materials shrink when they dry, resulting in internal stress which is relieved by cracking as soon as this stress exceeds the tensile strength of the repair material.

To overcome this issue, our laboratory technicians have formulated a concrete repair mortar that uses monofilament, polypropylene micro-fibers to significantly reduce the risk of cracking. These tiny fibers, distributed throughout the repair mortar, enhance the four key properties of the material that cause traditional materials to crack (tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, tensile creep and drying shrinkage rate).

Our fibers safeguard the repair mortar right from application, as when the mortar is fresh its tensile strength is at its lowest, so the fibers provide a high degree of secondary reinforcement to minimize early cracking. This protection extends throughout the lifecycle of the concrete, mitigating plastic shrinkage-cracking, reducing permeability, and improving its impact and toughness characteristics.

The effectiveness of these micro-fibers is proven through the ASTM C 1581 test, which determines the concrete’s resistance to cracking under restrained shrinkage. In this test, typical ready-mix concrete and standard repair mortars will usually crack within three days – however micro-fiber reinforced mortars can last for over 140 days in the same conditions.

Alongside helping to keep buildings together, our microscopic innovations are also helping to make building sites safer places to work. One of the challenges during construction is the amount of dust kicked up in the general course of construction activity. 

Mixing epoxy grouts, a three-component system frequently used to anchor bolts, support baseplates and fill in voids, is a common culprit for creating excessive amounts of dust. To help combat this issue, we have developed a unique aggregate processing technology that effectively eliminates the airborne dust released during the grout mixing process. Watch the following video to see the difference between a typical epoxy grout and our epoxy grouts with DL Technology

This dustless technology improves on-site safety and drastically reduces exposure to harmful dust without affecting the performance of the grout.

Jennifer Crisman recently presented on these new technologies at Euclid Group’s World of Concrete 2018 Press Conference Construction Under the Microscope. If you would like to find out more about these technologies, please get in touch with Euclid Chemical’s team of experts. Or find a local sales representative near to your location.

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