Concrete technology has come a long way in recent years, and polymer concrete is at the cutting edge. It’s been around since the 1950s but still, so few people use it for their construction jobs. That’s a shame as it has several benefits over traditional concrete.
Polymer concrete is a type of concrete that uses polymers to bind the aggregate together. In other words, instead of using cement, polymer concrete uses a resin to act as the binder.
This innovative material offers a range of benefits for construction projects, from improved durability to greater design flexibility.
Here are five reasons to use polymer concrete for your next construction project.
1. Increased Durability
One of the biggest advantages of polymer concrete is its increased durability. Polymer concrete is resistant to both chemical and physical degradation, meaning it will last longer than traditional concrete. This makes it an ideal choice for construction projects where durability is a key concern, such as bridges or roads.
It also lasts a long time over freezing and thawing cycles, is watertight with low permeability, and has resistance to the elements.
2. Greater Flexibility
Another advantage of polymer concrete is its greater flexibility. Unlike traditional concrete, which can crack and break under stress, polymer concrete is much more flexible and can withstand a greater amount of stress without breaking. This makes it an ideal choice for construction projects that require a high degree of flexibility, such as underground tunnels.
3. Improved Workability
Polymer concrete is easier to mix and pour than traditional concrete, making it simpler and faster to use on construction sites. This can save time and money on construction projects.
It is also much lighter in weight than traditional concrete and is applied in thin layers, making it ideal for repairing cracks and holes in concrete.
4. Greater Curing Speed
Another advantage of polymer concrete is its fast curing speed. Unlike traditional concrete, which can take days or even weeks to cure, polymer concrete can cure in a matter of hours. This can be a major advantage in construction projects where time is of the essence.
Because it has the ability to set quickly and resist weathering, it’s useful in the application of repairing existing structures and projects with quicker completion schedules.
5. Enhanced Aesthetics
You can dye and stamp polymer concrete to create a wide range of looks, making it a versatile choice for construction projects. Because polymer concrete is resistant to staining and fading, it will keep its good looks for years to come while traditional concrete will fade quickly.
Bonus Benefit: Reduced Environmental Impact
Polymer concrete has a reduced environmental impact compared to traditional concrete. Polymer concrete contains no cement, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, polymer concrete can be made with recycled materials, further reducing its environmental impact.
How Is Polymer Concrete Made?
The process to make polymer concrete mixes a polymer with an aggregate, such as sand or gravel. The strength of the resulting mix depends on the type of aggregate used.
The mix is then poured into a mold where it sets. After it sets, the polymer concrete is used like traditional concrete.
Types of Polymer Concrete
There are two main types of polymer concrete:
Thermosetting polymer concrete is the most common type. It is made with a thermosetting resin, such as an epoxy, and hardens when heated.
Thermoplastic polymer concrete is made with a thermoplastic resin and hardens when cooled.
Polymer concrete can further be categorized as polymer impregnated concrete (PIC), polymer cement concrete (PCC), or polymer concrete (PC).
PIC is made from cement being impregnated with a monomer which is then polymerized after being set. PCC is made by mixing monomers into traditional cement concrete to harden the end result, increasing its strength and impermeability. PC is what we’ve been discussing here in large part, which is broken down into the two main types discussed above.
What Are the Disadvantages of Polymer Concrete?
While polymer concrete offers many advantages, there are some disadvantages to consider as well. One of the biggest disadvantages of polymer concrete is its cost. Polymer concrete is typically more expensive than traditional concrete, so it may not be the best choice for construction projects on a tight budget.
Additionally, polymer concrete requires a high degree of skill and experience to work with, so it is not always the best choice for DIY construction projects. It’s also dangerous to work with, due to the chemical and resins found in the mix. You must wear protective gloves and gear when working with polymer concrete.
Common Polymer Applications in Construction
Contractors utilize polymer concrete for projects that need a high degree of durability and a variety of corrosion resistance and support. Some common projects that use this material include:
- Sidewalks and walkways
- Pool decks
- Lift station
- Marine work
- Nuclear power plants
Other Types of Concrete
There are many types of concrete available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re considering using concrete for your next construction project, be sure to do your research to find the best type of concrete for your needs.
Some other types of concrete include:
- Asphalt concrete
- Fiber-reinforced concrete
- Glass fiber-reinforced concrete
- Prestressed concrete
- Precast concrete
- Lightweight concrete
Why Choose Polymer Concrete?
Polymer concrete is an excellent choice for construction projects that require a great degree of durability and corrosion resistance. It is also a good choice for projects where traditional concrete would not be a good fit, such as sidewalks, floors, and driveways.
If you’re considering using polymer concrete for your next project, be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully to decide if it’s the right choice for you.
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