WHAT IS POLYMER CONCRETE?

Sephaku Cement explains the difference between cement based concrete and Polymer based concrete and where polymer based products are better put to use than other cement constructs. While cement based concrete is considered one of the most widely used  construction materials in the world, as technology, knowledge and processes improve, cement based innovations continue to forge new means to methodology and improved end results.

While cement based products offer a number of advantages over various other building materials, as with all things in the world of construction, certain materials are better put to use for specific projects than others. Where normal cement based concrete may be subject to variable strength results, freeze-thaw vulnerabilities and susceptible to chemical corrosion, polymer based concrete products offer additional reinforcement, may be used in the repair of damaged mineral concrete as well as construction projects that require a speedier hydration process as well as added durability and reduced permeability.

So what is Polymer Concrete?

Polymer-modified concrete comes in various polymer derivatives including latex polymer concrete, ideally put to use as a patching material, tile grouting and plaster additives to name a few.

Over and above latex polymer concrete mixes, other commonly used polymers include the likes of:

  • Acrylic
  • Vinyl Acetate Ethylene
  • Styrene-Acrylics
  • PVA Or Polyvinyl Acetate
  • Styrene-Butadiene Resin

Polymer Concrete is made from standard Portland concrete that is injected with a Liquid or Gaseous monomer that is polymerised by gamma radiation or influenced using a thermal catalytic method. Further prompted by drying the concrete at higher temperatures than normal, polymerised concrete products;

  • Offer greater compressive or load bearing strength
  • Extremely resistant to freeze-thaw cycles that can typically result in cracking, scaling, and crumbling of standard Portland cement
  • Resilient against chemical erosion and other abrasive action
  • Produce a less permeable compound especially useful for chemical, hazardous and contaminated substances

Characterised by different strengths and weaknesses, Polymer concrete combinations are known to offer improved adhesive capabilities to variable surfaces and with its added strength and potency against abrasion, even wafer-thin Polymer concrete installations offer unique benefits that cement based concrete may not be able to compete with.

Although a more costly option to make use of, especially in large scale construction projects Polymer concrete offers an effective solution when put to use in the following concrete structures:

  • Marine and underwater concrete constructs
  • Prefabricated structures
  • Pre-stressed concrete in need of significant repair or refurbishment
  • Nuclear power plants and compounds
  • Sewage construction, repairs and installations
  • Desalination plants
  • Constructs that require resilient waterproofing

Polymer Concrete cures as a result of a chemical reaction, unlike traditional concrete, Polymer composite will set regardless of whether the mix is agitated or not. What this means is that once the Polymer concrete has been integrated with water and aggregate, the mixture will need to be poured or put to use shortly thereafter, with this in mind it is ideally suited for small precast projects, also ensure that those handling the mixture are protected with masks, gloves and protective clothing given the number of chemicals used in its construct.

Although somewhat more complex to make use of, Polymer concrete products offer unique and extremely beneficial advantages to specialised and complicated construction projects.