Driving Down on Structural Durability

Long-term durability of deep foundations and piles

Driving Down on Structural Durability
23 November 2017 Posted in , ,

A high-rise structure is supported by its piles and footings, below the ground… What protection will those critical elements have? What ensures they are maintained in viable condition, able to support the structure for years to come?
Markham – adding life to concrete

Soil Moisture and Groundwater Attack on Concrete Foundations and Piles

Concrete foundations and piles are at risk of attack from sulphates, chlorides, or organic acids – depending on the nature of the surrounding soil, proximity to marine seepage, or proximity of water tables.
Markham – adding life to concrete
Waterfront properties are at particular risk, for much the same reasons as wholly marine structures.
Markham – adding life to concrete
A number of protection systems are available, but there are drawbacks. Physical barriers can fail or deteriorate over time. Most systems are dependent on their accurate placement by the contractor – who is likely under time and circumstantial constraints at the time of placement.
Markham – adding life to concrete
Critically, contaminants contribute to corrosion and failure of the reinforcing steel, typically by breaking down the protective ‘rebar zone’ where the alkalinity should prevent corrosion commencing.
Markham – adding life to concrete

Markham – adding life to concrete

Common Factor in Contamination

What’s the common factor in the contamination of concrete? The ingress and movement of moisture-borne contaminants. Foundation piles are fundamentally at risk by their contact with soil moisture and groundwater.
Markham – adding life to concrete
Can that water be immobilised, so it doesn’t enter the concrete or carry contaminants to the steel?
Why not add a hydrogel treatment to the mix?

Waterproofing Concrete Using Hydrogel Admixture

Here’s the technical overview:
Hydrogel treatment is a liquid, added to the mix water during the batching process at the supply plant. Combined with the mix water, it is evenly distributed throughout the batch. The cement in the mix then causes the treatment to interact with the water and a hydrogel is formed throughout the concrete. The water, now being in a gel state, is able to maximise the saturation of every cement particle – so essential for uniform hydration. After placement, the hydrogel solidifies within the pore structure to minimise moisture loss during the curing stage and prevent ingress and migration of water and common debilitating substances throughout the life of the concrete.
Markham – adding life to concrete
The benefits of hydrogel waterproofing admixture include

  • 1 – WATERPROOFING by immobilising of the moisture content and preventing further ingress.
  • 2 – IMPROVED CURING by controlling the hydration – giving a more durable concrete.
  • 3 – SHRINKAGE REDUCTION – reducing microcracking during curing, and therefore removing entryways for long-term contamination.
  • 4 – SELF HEALING – a hydrogel treatment continues to be effective for the life of the structure, reacting to ambient moisture levels, and sealing non-moving cracks up to 0.5mm.

It also happens to be nil VOC, and improves the concrete handling, making placement easier.
Markham – adding life to concrete

This is the Advanced Solution

Hydrogel treatments are cost-effective and offer a greater list of benefits as compared with similar treatments on the market.
Hydrogels remain ‘active’ for the life of the concrete, responding to ambient moisture levels. This is important when comparing to crystalline treatments, which are ‘one-shot’.
Markham – adding life to concrete
AQURON 300 hydrogel waterproofing admixture will also improve placement. It can be used in shotcrete, and is ideal for basement waterproofing in situations where a membrane is an overkill.
Interested in more information? Get in touch!


More information? Download the free AQURON 300 overview.



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