Let’s kick this one off with a generalisation.
You know all generalisations are dodgy, right?
The only dodgy thing about this one is it is a little simplistic. Apart from that, it captures an important truth for the concrete industry:
Moisture carries contamination
Concrete’s tiny porosities and cracks allow moisture to enter the concrete and move around.
Moisture carries reactive chemicals. These remain active within the concrete.
Take that a step further – many internal concrete reactions require H2O to proceed. So not only does the moisture bring the reactants in, it frequently actively facilitates the reactivity.
Why does that matter? What will this do?
Reactants work inside the concrete, corroding steel, increasing cracking, and causing a cycle of deterioration.
This is sometimes called ‘concrete cancer’ – an unpleasant analogy referring to the fact that the deterioration proceeds inside, unseen, only becoming evident when it is advanced. Often a combination of rust stains and unexpected cracking is the first external evidence of internal reactions.
What does this have to do with car parks, particularly?
The concrete in car parks is under attack from several factors.
- Firstly, there are simple load and abrasion, from the vehicle traffic.
- Then, contamination in the form of road grime, grease, and soil, along with water, are brought in on the vehicle tyres or drip off the car itself.
- Carbonation and concrete dust are also an issue. The carbon dioxide in exhaust fumes tends to trigger surface reaction in the soffits (exposed undersides of the floors). The resulting concrete dust is a health risk due to its silica content.
The hydrogel solution
Did you know that the application of a nanoparticle colloidal silica, with the appropriate catalyst, will induce a hydrogel formation inside concrete?
This is an extremely practical technology, and has many benefits for concrete durability.
In the context of protecting car parks, we can
- Immobilize the internal moisture.
- Prevent the entrance or movement of moisture AND contamination within the concrete.
- Permanent, unlike coatings and surface treatments.
Timely maintenance, and De Sitter’s Law of Fives
Wolter Reinold de Sitter, part-time Professor in the design of structures in concrete at the Eindhoven University of Technology, proposed a Law of Fives for structural concrete maintenance.
This shows the genuine value of acting early and reducing long-term costs.
And there’s more!
Full compatibility. Hydrogel treatments do not introduce any new element to the concrete, and are compatible with any treatment designed for bare concrete.
Bonus! No tyre squeal! Hydrogel treatment does not change the appearance or texture of the surface. Unlike topical coatings, hydrogel treatment does not contribute to tyre squeal.
Intrigued? Like to learn more? Get in touch! We’re keen to help with your new or existing project.