Polymer concrete, also known as resin concrete is conventional concrete that is made from synthetic resins and a hardening agent as opposed to using the more traditional cement binder. In other words, traditional cement comprises of sand, coarse aggregate, and water while polymer concrete comprises of polymer resin and aggregate. Unlike traditional concrete, polymer concrete does away with the hydraulic mineral binder which is considered as a weak link in as far as construction is concerned. This type of concrete is part of a group that makes use of polymers in place of or to supplement cement as a binder. The group includes; polymer concrete, polymer-impregnated concrete and polymer-Portland cement concrete.
Applications that normally utilize polymer concrete include:
- Bridge products such as bridge kerbs, bridge edge beams, gutters, and bridge drainage inlets
- Marine works
- Nuclear power plants
- Prefabricated structural elements
- Sewage works and desalination plants
- Pre-stressed concrete
- Waterproofing and producing a number of industrial applications such as industrial tanks
- In the production of storage tanks that are meant to store corrosive substances such as bases and acids.
Since resins are used in the place of traditional binder, a number of interesting properties can be realized with polymer concrete. These properties include high mechanical strength, high chemical resistance and a number of corrosive chemical substances among others.
When compared to traditional concrete, polymer concrete bears a number of advantages such as:
- A much higher compressive strength when compared to traditional binder in addition to much higher impact strength. It is no wonder that it is mainly utilized in industrial applications.
- High level of abrasion and chemical attack resistance.
- A much higher bending tensile strength.
- Limited moisture absorption levels hence making for high resistance to thawing and freezing.
In addition to the aforementioned advantages, polymer concrete does carry a number of other advantages when compared to traditional concrete. These include:
- It comprises of a small number of pores which in turn helps ensure that there is a high level of tightness present which makes polymer concrete resistant to liquids.
- Owing to its low moisture absorption levels, polymer concrete does posses a high level of frost resistance.
- Polymer concrete tends not to peal or splinter and it is resistant to a number of scratches. This helps ensure that the level of maintenance attached is greatly reduced. Furthermore, since there is no erosion to be had, in addition to a reduced level of maintenance required, the levels of exploitation are also greatly reduced.
- Any load class can make use of polymer concrete.
- It provides for durable and strong products thanks to the properties attached. In addition, they make for quick and easier installation since they tend to be lighter than concrete products thanks to their high mechanical resistance.
- They provide for splendid adhesion to a number of construction materials such as traditional concrete and steel.
- Thanks to the resins that are present in polymer concrete, the ability to dampen vibrations is greatly improved.
- Since it is possible to acquire surfaces that are very smooth in nature, a number of practical applications can comfortably utilize polymer concrete.
- With its resistance to ultraviolet rays, the use of polymer concrete helps ensure that colors don’t fade for a long time to come hence facilitating the design of durable color solutions that are attention-grabbing.
- A short period of time is required to install the given products.
- It provides for a great ease in cutting or drilling.
Ultimately, with numerous advantages being realized, it is easy to see what makes this polymer concrete that much special.