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Concrete Waterproofing with Crystalline Technology

Crystalline chemicals improve concrete durability, lower maintenance costs, and extend building life cycles

March 2014
Sponsored by XYPEX Chemical Corp.

Continuing Education

Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this month’s Continuing Education article.

Learning Objectives - After reading this article, you will be able to:

  1. Understand how crystalline technology works with concrete to provide high performance waterproofing qualities.
  2. Explain the difference between porosity, permeability and the mechanics by which water is absorbed through concrete structures.
  3. Discuss how crystalline waterproofing technology improves the durability of concrete structures and reduces maintenance.
  4. Identify appropriate crystalline technology product applications for various types of concrete construction.
  5. Analyze how crystalline technology admixtures can impact building life cycle and project construction costs.

Credits: 1.00 HSW

From foundations, floor slabs and exterior pre-cast panels, to water treatment facilities and underground urban infrastructure, concrete is one of the most commonly used building and construction materials. However, due to its composition, a mixture of rock, sand, cement, and water, concrete is often susceptible to damage and deterioration from water and chemical penetration.

These deleterious effects can be avoided through the use of crystalline waterproofing technology, which effectively improves the durability and lifespan of concrete structures, thereby reducing long-term maintenance costs. This article explores how crystalline technology provides a high level of performance to concrete mixtures, materials, and structures, and what design professionals need to know in order to specify and understand how this chemical technology will enhance building projects.

The Nature of Concrete

The aggregate base of a concrete mixture is formed by rock and sand. This cement and water mixture creates a paste that binds the aggregates together. As the cement particles hydrate, or combine with water, they form calcium silicate hydrates. The mixture then hardens into a solid, rock-like mass.

Concrete is also a water based product. To make this mixture workable, easy to place, and consolidate, more water than is necessary for the hydration of the cement is used. This extra water, known as the water of convenience, will bleed out of the concrete, leaving behind pores and capillary tracts. Although concrete appears to be a solid material, it is both porous and permeable.

Water reducers and superplasticizers can be used to reduce the amount of water in the concrete mix, and maintain its workability. However, pores, voids, and capillary paths will remain in cured concrete and can carry water and aggressive chemicals into structural elements that will corrode steel reinforcement and deteriorate concrete, thus jeopardizing the structure’s integrity.

Concrete deterioration due to rusting of reinforcing steel

Photo courtesy of Xypex

 

Originally published in November 2011
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