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Understanding Polymer Concrete

Polymer Foam Texture Concrete

Successfully cutting and drilling concrete takes a lot of specialized knowledge. Many people assume that most of this knowledge pertains to the use of concrete saws and other tools. Yet a concrete cutting contractor also has to have an exceptionally thorough knowledge of concrete - specifically, all of the different varieties of concrete that exist.

Concrete varies more than most people assume, not just in terms of mix proportions but also in the use of additives to enhance performance. One common variation on standard concrete goes by the name of polymer concrete. If you would like to enhance your understanding of the concrete world, keep reading. This article will present a useful overview of polymer concrete.

Polymer Concrete

To understand what makes polymer concrete unique, you first need to have a basic knowledge of traditional concrete ingredients. The concrete that most people are familiar with contains three main ingredients: water, Portland cement, and a variety of different shapes and sizes of crushed gravel aggregate.

As the water and cement mix together and interact chemically, they harden and bind together the pieces of aggregate. Polymer concrete achieves its strength in a similar process, but with one key difference: the Portland cement is omitted completely. Instead of Portland cement, the manufacturer adds one or more polymer materials.

These polymers interact with water, undergoing the process of hydration which ultimately binds the aggregate particles together. Despite topical similarities, polymer concrete possesses many different attributes and advantages once fully cured.

Acid Resistance

All types of polymer concrete share one key advantage: incredible resistance to non-fluoride acids. These include hydrochloric, nitric, phosphoric, and sulfuric acid. These acids occur naturally in certain environments and often come from other building materials used.

Even small amounts of non-fluoride acids tend to wreak havoc on concrete made with Portland cement because cement itself has a highly alkaline chemical make-up, one that makes it particularly attractive to acids. The chemical reaction between the cement and the acid neutralizes the acid, simultaneously leading to the breakdown of the concrete.

The polymers used in polymer concrete have a much more neutral chemical profile. As a result, even when acids are present, they won't be able to break down the concrete. This natural degree of invulnerability greatly increases the lifespan of polymer concrete.

Additional Benefits

Polymer concrete has many benefits besides being resistant to acid. But the benefits of polymer concrete depend on the type of polymer used to make the concrete. Acrylic, epoxy, and furan resin are three of the most commonly used polymers. Each of these displays a unique performance profile that makes it well suited for a certain purpose.

For instance, acrylic binders promote fast curing, allowing contractors to move more swiftly through the project. Acrylics also offer exceptional weather resistance thanks to their naturally water-impermeable nature. For this reason, contractors often choose acrylic-based polymer concrete when installing below-ground pools or other structures with high water exposure.

Epoxy polymer, on the other hand, allows contractors to effectively minimize the amount of shrinking that occurs as the concrete dries. Furan resins provide unparalleled results when it comes to withstanding high temperatures. Therefore, polymer concrete made with furan resins makes a great choice when building industrial or manufacturing sites that will be regularly exposed to above-average temperature swings.

For virtually every building or paving job, bests results can be achieved through the use of a specific type of concrete. Polymer concretes are quickly becoming one of the more popular alternatives to traditional concrete. For more information about what it takes to successfully cut concrete - whether polymer or traditional - please contact the experts at Capital Concrete Cutting Inc.