What is polymer concrete

What is polymer concrete

Are you curious about the properties and uses of polymer concrete? This material has been gaining increasing attention in the construction industry.

Or are you a seasoned worker with some experience with it and wanting to expand your knowledge base?

As someone with practical experience in the field of concrete work, I am here to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of polymer concrete. I may not be a chemist, but I can explain the unique characteristics of this material and how it differs from traditional concrete.

Although it may be more expensive, polymer concrete has numerous advantages that make it a worthwhile investment in certain situations.

So, let’s delve deeper into this fascinating material and explore its various applications together!

Polymer concrete vs concrete

Before addressing what polymer concrete is, let’s take a quick look at the makeup of regular concrete. Typical concrete is made of small rocks and other aggregate materials and cement.

Cement is the bonding material between all the tiny pieces of rock that compose the concrete.

The difference between cement and polymer concretes is that with polymer concrete, the cement is replaced with polymers. In other words, the aggregate of rocks, fine particles, and pebbles are held together by thermostatic resins instead of cement.

This setup ensures that the concrete’s result is watertight and lightweight at the same time.

Polymer concretes are used in two main applications: either for new concrete applications or as a patch for old concrete constructions. Fresh concrete for new jobs is often used in swimming pools, drainage or sewer pipes, water channels, and other liquid-containing structures because it is so watertight.

It is also beneficial in patching old concrete cracks and such; it can repair cement concrete or more aged concrete of its makeup. Because of its versatility, it is much appreciated in the construction world.

Polymer concrete tips

Here are a few quick tips for using polymer concrete. First, to promote good bonding between the aggregate and the polymer, the aggregate must be high quality, free from dust and debris, and dry.

Secondly, if you are using this kind of concrete to repair or patch older cement concrete, please ensure that the surface to be fixed is arid. Moisture will weaken the bonding power in the patching job, so it should thus be avoided.

Lastly, ensure your concrete job stays perfectly dry until it is cured. Again, any moisture in the bond will only weaken and ruin your patching job.

Polymer concrete properties

When it comes to any material used for building, we have to know all sides of it. What is it suitable for, where is it not a good fit, what kind of stress can it handle, etc.?

So, for that reason, let us look at the pros and cons of polymer concrete. There are always some details, which makes looking into building materials interesting.

Pros of polymer concrete

There are many benefits involved with using polymer concrete for a specific job. First, it can resist compression up to four times better than standard cement concrete. In addition, it is also straightforward to install and maintain.

This concrete is also very resistant to weather, chemicals, shock, and abrasion. Polymer concretes are excellent at handling freezing and thawing cycles; they cure quickly.

There are also excellent adhesion properties, which make it suitable for fixing damaged concrete, along with its water-resistant qualities, which help against rebar corrosion.

It is lightweight and can also be used in standard wood and steel frameworks. These benefits are a few reasons that concrete is so well-liked among many builders.

Cons of polymer concrete

There are a few disadvantages to using polymer concrete, but only a few. First, it costs more than traditional concrete as cement is much cheaper. It might be acceptable depending on how we use it and how it can stand against time in that use.

Secondly, some of the ingredients in the concrete compound can be toxic, especially the initiator ingredients, which are also harmful to human skin and can cause chemical burns if contact. Other polymer components are also dangerous and should be carefully handled to prevent damage to yourself or anyone around you.

Thirdly, polymer concrete needs to be properly mixed. Improper mixes lead to wrong results, like with regular concrete.

Polymer concrete products can also be used as a coating

Possible uses

You might know that corrosion is one of the most significant weaknesses of reinforced concrete. Concrete might stand for thousands of years, but rebar inside it will rust and corrode it with time.

If we combine polymer concrete and rebar, we should have something solid and corrosion-resistant. Polymer concrete has excellent strength, and when combined with tensile strength, it should be able to handle even more.

Polymer concrete can handle more pressure, and its anticorrosion qualities might win it a spot in essential facilities. Because of that, it also has a place in the marine and sewage environment.

It can be used like regular concrete, but we need to consider where the benefits are worth the price tag because of the higher cost. Even if the concrete might last, if the usage of the building disappears, it’s all for nothing—just expensive waste.

Conclusion

These are the basic steps in using any polymer concretes available in the construction market today. With caution and some extra investment, you can be confident that this concrete will last many years.

Typically, polymer products are used for concrete repair. Old concrete can deteriorate, leading to rebar corrosion, and repairs are necessary for both aesthetic and safety reasons.

Using a plain concrete patch without proper corrosion prevention may cause the rebar to rust again. You can either apply corrosion protection to the rebar or make the entire patch resistant to corrosion.

In the past, we used to fix this damage by applying corrosion protection to the rebar and pouring old-fashioned concrete on the spot. However, these days, I have been doing more and more polymer repairs, which are gaining popularity.

Polymer fixing is a good option in some cases, even though it may be a little more costly.